In 2016, a landmark report was issued on the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. The paper, commissioned by the U.K. government and the Wellcome Trust, sought to quickly grab the attention of policymakers — by tapping a former high-profile Goldman Sachs economist named Jim O’Neill to lead the effort. He issued a particularly dire warning of what was to come if the issue was ignored.
“It is fair to assume that over 1 million people will have died from antimicrobial resistance since I started this review in the summer of 2014. This is truly shocking,” O’Neill wrote at the time, adding that the cost in terms of lost global production between now and 2050 would be an enormous $100 trillion if action was not taken.
A new STAT Report finds that five years later, the prognosis remains sobering. An estimated 700,000 people die annually from antimicrobial resistance, a number that could rise to 10 million by 2050, according to a World Health Organization report issued in 2019. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections and 35,000 deaths from those infections each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.