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Increased antibiotic stewardship needed

December 2019: An overuse of antibiotics in human health, animal health, and the agricultural sector are contributing to the rise of antimicrobial resistance and superbugs which pose risks to public health. Increased research efforts could lead to a robust evidence base that informs antibiotic stewardship programmes.


Concerns about over and misuse of antibiotics and mounting reports on antibiotic-resistant bacteria have given rise to calls for increased antibiotic stewardship. The study suggests that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) contributes to more than 2 million infections and 100,000 deaths each year in the US alone and poses major risks for public health. Nonetheless, the study concludes that there is a lack of research in this area and calls for an increase in AMR-related research activity and decision-making frameworks for practitioners to develop antibiotic stewardship programmes.

Implications & Opportunities

Increasing research activity into AMR-related fields could contribute to a rigorous evidence base that defines optimal antibiotic prescribing practices across populations and geographical contexts. Such an evidence base could lead to developing effective interventions and standardised processes when administering antibiotics. The study calls for policymakers to monitor antibiotic consumption more effectively and to set targets to reduce antibiotic use in human health, animal health, and agricultural sectors. The study further identifies that without interventions and based on current projections, AMR could be responsible for 100 million annual deaths at a cost of US$10 trillion per year.


Investigations into antibiotic stewardship are complex and it is and emerging field of research. Thus, results should only be seen as indicative with more research needed to establish a robust evidence base in this field.


Morris, A. M., Calderwood, M. S., Fridkin, (2019). Research needs in antibiotic stewardship. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 1 10.doi:10.1017/ice.2019.276

Jakarta Post. (2019). How key policy tool can accelerate fight against antimicrobial resistance. Retrieved from

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Adele Wiliams

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The views expressed in these external research papers are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL, the University of Cambridge, or any of its individual business partners or clients.