Article published on June 21, 2022 on the AMR register website
Leading biopharmaceutical companies join Vivli’s new global register to accelerate research into antibiotic resistant bacteria
The Antimicrobial Resistance Register, unveiled today by the nonprofit organization Vivli, makes it possible for biopharmaceutical companies to share susceptibility data on infection causing pathogens for the first time ever in one online platform, marking a critical step in combating the growing global health threat of antimicrobial resistance. With the active participation from leading pharmaceutical and biotech enterprises, researchers will be able to use the AMR Register to translate masses of antimicrobial resistance surveillance data into meaningful action that saves lives and preserves antibiotics for future generations.
Infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are on the rise after years of overprescribing antibiotics. Now, illnesses that were once easily treatable with antibiotics are becoming more difficult to cure, and infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria cost billions in avoidable healthcare dollars. According to latest figures from the GRAM report, almost 5 million people died worldwide with an antimicrobial resistant infection. If left unchecked, the scale of antimicrobial resistance will quickly outpace what we have experienced with COVID-19, with deaths rising to 10 million per year by 2050, according to the United Nations.
Biopharmaceutical companies routinely conduct surveillance on all new antimicrobials to monitor susceptibility to pathogens of interest, generating large volumes of high-quality data. Currently, there is no easy way for researchers to access this raw data or combine and analyze multiple datasets from industry. The AMR register will make it easy for biopharmaceutical organizations to securely share their data with researchers, national governments, and multi-lateral organizations such as the United Nations, CDC and the World Health Organization. With robust, reliable industry data, all accessible in one place, scientists will be able to better map key patterns of resistance and identify the emergence of new antibiotic resistant pathogens. Research insights will also inform decision-making around use of antimicrobials, shape policies aimed at halting the spread of resistant pathogens, and spur innovation around new antimicrobial drugs.
“Our understanding of how to control antimicrobial resistant infections and how best to protect human health hinges on better access to surveillance data. Now, with the AMR Register we have an early warning system for one of the greatest public health threats we face,” said Chair of the AMR Register Scientific Advisory Board Marc Mendelson, PhD, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases & HIV Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town. “Biopharmaceutical company data is a vital missing link in AMR surveillance, making the research enabled by the AMR register critical to mitigating the AMR pandemic and protecting the effectiveness of antibiotics, now and in the future.”
Companies that have committed to contributing their data to the AMR Register include Pfizer, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Shionogi & Co., Ltd., and Venatorx Pharmaceuticals.
In 2016, over 100 biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations signed The Davos Declaration on Antibiotic Resistance and later released the Industry Roadmap for Progress on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance ahead of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, committing to sharing surveillance data to make it accessible to public health bodies and healthcare professionals. With the AMR Register, industry can now fulfill those commitments, helping contain the risk of AMR and advance scientific knowledge.
“We need urgent action to avert a wave of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Vivli’s Executive Director Rebecca Li, PhD. “By making data openly available, industry is making a crucial contribution to furthering science and helping us get ahead of the next pandemic.”
The AMR Register is guided by a Scientific Advisory Board of influential leaders in antimicrobial resistance and global health, including Henry Kajumbula, MD of Makerere University College of Health Sciences; Trudie Lang of the Nuffield Department of Medicine; Marc Mendelson, PhD, of Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town; Arjun Srinivasan, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Janet Midega, PhD, from Wellcome; and Andy Stergachis, PhD, of the University of Washington. The AMR Register was made possible with an initial seed grant from the Wellcome Trust.
Learn more at www.amr.vivli.org
Statements from AMR Register Members and Supporters
“Antimicrobial resistance poses a profound threat to lives and livelihoods around the world. Getting ahead of this threat needs action on many fronts – from using existing antibiotics wisely to researching potential new antibiotics; and deploying vaccines to help prevent infection,” said John Billington, head of health security policy and advocacy at GSK. “Surveillance and data-sharing are central to these efforts. The AMR Register will help build our collective understanding of how pathogens are evolving and what is needed to outwit them. Building on GSK’s commitments to data transparency, we are pleased to support the AMR Register by sharing data from our long-running SOAR study, which tracks community-acquired respiratory infections.”
FROM MERCK (known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada)
“For more than two decades, Merck has been conducting ongoing surveillance as part of our global Study for Monitoring Antimicrobial Resistance Trends (SMART) program and working to make the data more widely available,” said Dr. Nick Kartsonis, senior vice president, vaccines and infectious diseases, Global Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories. “The launch of the AMR Register helps Merck take that commitment a step further, making this critical data even more accessible to partners around the world to help us all make faster, smarter, data-driven decisions in our collective fight against the urgent threat of AMR.”
FROM PARATEK PHARMACEUTICALS
“The Vivli AMR initiative aligns with Paratek’s core values and our commitment to support public and private partnerships that enable greater attention to the urgent and growing worldwide public health threat of antimicrobial resistance,” said Alisa W. Serio, PhD, Senior Director, Microbiology, Paratek. “The Vivli platform will be an immensely valuable resource for independent researchers, governments, and global organizations, where robust curated antimicrobial susceptibility data can be found in one place. It is our hope that this collaborative data-sharing effort helps drive further innovation, advances in antimicrobial stewardship practices and improved patient outcomes.”
“Access to surveillance data and trends in antimicrobial resistance allows key decision makers to better adapt antimicrobial stewardship programs to help combat the spread of resistant pathogens,” said Pol Vandenbroucke, Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Hospital. “At Pfizer, we are driven by our desire to improve global public health and are encouraged to see the collective action the industry is taking to help curb the growing threat of AMR. As the first company to provide open-access to raw surveillance data through our innovative ATLAS surveillance program, Pfizer has a longstanding commitment to antimicrobial stewardship and so we are pleased to again lead the way as a founding contributor to Vivli’s AMR Register.”
FROM VENATORX PHARMACEUTICALS
“Venatorx has been conducting global surveillance of drug-resistant clinical isolates since 2018, as part of our efforts to support antibacterial drug development” said Greg Moeck, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Microbiology at Venatorx. “Today, we are excited to announce, and be a part of, this significant collaborative initiative that will enhance and centralize access to high-quality AMR surveillance data across multiple datasets around the globe. Vivli’s AMR Register is vital to support educational and scientific communications on the AMR burden and emerging resistance, as well as global public health at large.”
FROM SHIONOGI & CO., LTD
“Centralized disclosure of antimicrobial surveillance data is very important from the drug-resistance-monitoring perspective.” stated Ms. Takuko Sawada, Director of the Board, Executive Vice President, Shionogi & Co., Ltd. “Shionogi believes that Vivli’s AMR Register is the essential initiative to address antimicrobial stewardship and expansion of AMR on the global level.”
FROM WELLCOME TRUST
“Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of high quality, readily accessible data to all elements of an effective public health response,” said Tim Jinks, Head of Infectious Disease Intervention at Wellcome. “Drug-resistant infections are no exception. The Antimicrobial Resistance Register will play a critical role in providing open-access data that supports identifying both the emergence of new antibiotic resistant pathogens and where they are spreading. This has a breadth of benefits, including informing the stewardship of existing antimicrobials and guiding the innovation of new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines.”
Vivli is a non-profit organization working to advance human health through the insights and discoveries gained by sharing and analyzing data. Data sharing initiatives include the Antimicrobial Resistance Register for AMR surveillance data and the Vivli Platform for clinical trial data. Vivli acts as a neutral broker between data contributor and data user and the wider data sharing community. For more information, visit www.amr.vivli.org and follow us on Twitter @VivliCenter.
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