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What even is AMR?

It is estimated that if antibiotic resistance (AMR) is allowed to grow unchecked, it will cause a staggering 10 million deaths a year by 2050, costing the world up to $100 trillion. But do these numbers resonate with you? And are you sure you really understand what antibiotic resistance is all about?

At the moment, much of the focus around the challenge is on the science and economics of it, and rightly so. However, one thing that is also clear is that the way people think and behave around antibiotics and other antimicrobials matters. And this means that public engagement, in some form, is likely to be an important part of any response to the challenge. 

Recognising this, the Wellcome Trust asked us to explore the public perspective on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), including their relationship with antibiotics and antimicrobials, their current understanding of the resistance issue, what the different words mean to them and, importantly, the language they themselves use to talk about this area. 

You can check out what we found and what we see the implications of our research to be here.

And don’t feel bad if you find resistance a hard one to grasp, or if the big figures around financial cost and number of lives lost had minimal impact on you, you’re not alone. Almost everyone wrongly assumes it’s the person rather than the bacteria that becomes resistant and these numbers are meaningless to most people. 

Our work even got picked up in a recent article in The Atlantic which you can check out here.