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An Integrated Systems Approach is Needed to Ensure the Sustainability of Antibiotic Effectiveness for Both Humans and Animals

August 01, 2015

Anthony D. So, Tejen A. Shah, Steven Roach, Yoke Ling Chee, Keeve E. Nachman

The growing demand for animal products and the widespread use of antibiotics in bringing food animals to market have heightened concerns over cross-species transmission of drug resistance. Both the biology and emerging epidemiology strongly support the need for global coordination in stemming the generation and propagation of resistance, and the patchwork of global and country-level regulations still leaves significant gaps. More importantly, discussing such a framework opens the door to taking modular steps towards solving these challenges - for example, beginning among targeted parties rather than all countries, tying accountability to financial and technical support, or taxing antibiotic use in animals to deter low-value usage of these drugs. An international agreement would allow integrating surveillance data collection, monitoring and enforcement, research into antibiotic alternatives and more sustainable approaches to agriculture, technical assistance and capacity building, and financing under the umbrella of a One Health approach. © 2015 American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, Inc.