DNDi interventions at the 148th session of the WHO Executive Board:
Agenda Item 9: Antimicrobial resistance
Statement on behalf of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative, supported by the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP)
We thank WHO for the comprehensive report and its support, together with donors and partners, to GARDP to develop new treatments to address drug resistance.
The growth of drug-resistant infections is a silent pandemic. If left unchecked, humanity will be unable to treat common infections like pneumonia, infections in newborns or secondary bacterial infections in viral pandemics. Like COVID-19, drug-resistant bacteria can infect anyone, of any age, in any country. Unlike COVID-19, we can prepare now. The drug-resistant microbes are known, and meaningful change can be achieved with sufficient political will and resources.
Member States can take the following measures to strengthen national and global responses to drug resistance:
- Invest in the development of medical countermeasures (diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines) for priority infections as a critical element of preparedness.
- Ensure that access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for all is a cornerstone of preparedness and response. New mechanisms should be developed that can accelerate and secure equitable and affordable access to existing and new treatments for drug-resistant infections.
- Expand global cooperation across geographies and sectors, within a One Health framework. No country organisation or sector can tackle AMR alone.
- Ensure low- and middle-income countries are equal partners in a comprehensive global response. All countries know how and capacities must be harnessed.
Our collective success in fighting this pandemic will depend on governments seizing this opportunity to develop a more robust, coordinated, and equitable approach.
Agenda Item 19.3: The global health sector strategies on, respectively, HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections, for the period 2016–2021
DNDi welcomes the progress noted in each of the existing strategies for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. However, significant challenges in reaching the SDG 2030 elimination goals for these diseases must be addressed as part of the new strategies.
For Hepatitis C: Most countries are still not close to meeting the existing treatment and diagnostic targets. In 2020, only 12 countries were on track to achieve HCV elimination by 2030. Not enough patients are diagnosed and, contrary to what is too often claimed, access to affordable curative treatments is not a reality, particularly in high burden countries. Actions to remove barriers to scaling up diagnosis and treatments, including using TRIPS flexibilities to allow generic competition, are urgently needed.
For HIV: Only 53% of the 1.8 million children living with HIV globally were diagnosed and on treatment, and much more must be done to rapidly scale up access to optimized paediatric antiretroviral formulations as soon as they are approved; generate the evidence necessary for HIV-exposed infant prophylaxis; and explore new delivery systems for adolescents who face unique adherence challenges. A more ambitious research agenda for advanced HIV is also critically important to reduce HIV-related mortality.
For STIs: The growing threat of drug resistant infections is highlighted in the report on STIs; for example, 32 of the 64 countries monitoring gonorrhoea antimicrobial resistance reported decreased susceptibility or resistance to last line treatments. Greater surveillance, development of new tests and treatments, and robust strategies for appropriate use and stewardship will be needed.
We urge Member States to actively engage in the development and implementation of new HCV, HIV, and STI strategies. Progress can only happen with sustained political will, appropriate health tools and sustainable financing.