April 30th, 2021 by Dr. Francis Collins
It was an honor to take part in the United Nations General Assembly’s High-level Interactive Dialogue on Antimicrobial Resistance. The dialogue, held on April 29, was organized by the Office of the President of the General Assembly. I participated on an afternoon panel before the Ministers of Health from Germany, Ghana, Russia, Sweden, Fiji, and UK. The event was also live streamed on UN Web TV, and this split-screen image shows me interacting with Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites change over time and learn to resist antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines. Established treatments can become ineffective, and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat, which increases the risk of disease spread, severe illness, and death. During my testimony, delivered virtually, I stated that antimicrobial resistance remains a priority for the U.S. government, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also testified that the U.S. remains committed to progress in this area domestically, as outlined in The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB), 2020-2025, and globally through cooperation with our international partners.