Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) may be the most important infectious disease threat of our time—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at least 2 million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics every year, and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

The Office of Global Affairs and our Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats represent the United States in the global negotiations that set the worldwide agenda to address AMR. We coordinate across U.S. federal agencies to inform policies and programs that could determine the viability of some of our most widely-used antibiotics.

As the United States’ diplomatic voice in global AMR work, the Office of Global Affairs led the negotiation and writing of the U.S. contribution to the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on AMR, the Pan American Health Organization’s Plan of Action on AMR, and the G7’s “Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: Examples of Best Practices of the G7 Countries.”

The Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs and AMR

By Executive Order from the president, the assistant secretary for Global Affairs leads the implementation of objective five of the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria, which calls for improving international collaboration and capacities to address AMR and develop new antibiotics. In that capacity, the assistant secretary represents the United States with foreign ministries of health and agriculture, the WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and other multinational organizations, in addition to tapping resources through the Global Health Security Agenda to address AMR.

The assistant secretary also co-chairs the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR), a multilateral collaboration among the U.S., the EU, Canada, and Norway established to improve the countries’ cooperation on AMR. TATFAR addresses three of the most urgent areas in AMR efforts: (1) appropriate use of antimicrobial drugs in medical and veterinary communities, (2) prevention of healthcare and community-associated drug-resistant infections, and (3) strategies for improving the pipeline of new antimicrobial drugs. Originally established in 2009 as a partnership between the U.S. and the European Union (EU), TATFAR expanded in 2015 to include Canada and Norway.

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