Antibiotic Resistance and IPCC

### Reader’s Letter to The Guardian, 13th May 2024 ### …

Dear Editor,

I read Kat Lay’s piece on Dame Sally Davies’ comments on the growing, and potentially catastrophic, antibiotics-resistance (AMR) (The Guardian, 13th May 2024, link below) and agree that this is truly shocking: My grandparents often talked about the scourge and danger of, for example, sepsis and could not praise antibiotics enough. Moreover, many life-changing operations (e.g. hip-replacement) would be impossible without the prophylactic use of antibiotics.

In the article Dame Sally, a member of the UN Global Leaders Group on AMR, talks clearly and eloquently about the problem (bravo!) and also suggests us having, like COP or IPCC for climate change, a body to handle AMR.

In theory such a body would be good but, living here near Bonn, I have been petitioning the UN (which has its main environmental centre in Bonn) on climate-change for the past fifteen years: Every summer I watch many thousands of delegates fly in to talk (a lot!) at the COP-preparatory talks. But then all we get is a whole lot of hot air and broken promises … year after year.

So my advice on AMR would be to drop any hope of global agreement and, instead, each country should systematically “ban the abuse” by, for example, a.) banning the routine use of antibiotics in intensive meat production (or, even better, ban intensive animal-rearing altogether) and b.) banning the imports of any products  (e.g. meat) which either contain antibiotics or whose production involves the abuse of antibiotics (e.g. from irresponsible drug-production facilities).

And then, of course, doctors should use extreme discretion in their prescribing of antibiotics.

Non of this should be difficult (it is simply a question of will) but, following my experience here in Bonn, I strongly advise against putting any faith in organisations modeled on COP or IPCC.

Alan Mitcham

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