A Call for Global Efforts in Addressing the Pervasive Problem of Antibiotic Resistance by Joyce Ibana
Human interactions with microorganisms represent one of the most intimate and long-lasting inter-species relationships in history; some are mutually beneficial, while others are antagonistic. These different types of relationships have been exploited for economic and health benefits, such as using beneficial microorganisms collectively known as probiotics. However, pathogenic microorganisms have also plagued humans, causing infectious diseases that have become significant public health concerns.
The latter pushed human ingenuity to find allies in other microorganisms that antagonize human pathogens. This led to one of the greatest triumphs of medical research – the discovery of antibiotics. Over many decades, antibiotics have been used widely. They played an important role in saving lives that changed the course of wars and extended human lifespans.
However, misuse and overuse of antibiotics created immense selective pressures that led to the emergence of resistance against important pathogens through the course of natural evolution. The problem of antibiotic resistance has been the topic of many scientific discourses, publications, and conventions worldwide.
In this letter, we would like to emphasize the urgent need for global cooperation and system-based solutions akin to addressing global climate change. We face the daunting task of fighting a complex problem in our current fast-paced and incredibly distracted society. We need our collective focus on something that we cannot see with our naked eye or experience within a common timeframe.
This is particularly challenging because human motivations for immediate actions are commonly focused merely on events that pose direct and immediate threats to ourselves. But our scientific community is attentive to our shared global concerns. Through this call, we appeal to Scientists, Agriculturists, and Entrepreneurs to persevere in conducting our work in a way that is aligned with efforts to address the problem of antibiotic resistance on a global scale.
Let us help promote the attempts of individuals from different parts of the world to contribute towards solving a global problem that is not easily perceivable in our current time and space—in a world that we share with microorganisms, some of which are our allies, some our foes.
In some way, we hope that this appeal will contribute to motivating our own species to cooperate firmly in solving global antibiotic resistance problems across the boundaries of our cultural circles and geographical divides.