GSK And The UN Pledge To Fight The Biggest Threat To Humanity 

(3BL Media/Justmeans) –  All 193 United Nations (UN) member states have signed a landmark agreement pledging to fight the threat of antimicrobial resistance – the fourth time a UN declaration has been reached on a health issue, following HIV in 2001, chronic illnesses in 2011 and Ebola in 2013. Experts warn that treatment-resistant infections pose one of the biggest known threats to humanity and without urgent action, it is possible that simple infections could soon become entirely untreatable with existing drugs and that routine medical procedures, such as Caesarean sections, could become too dangerous to perform. The signatories have committed to improve surveillance on the use and sales of antibiotics for humans and animals and encourage innovative ways to develop new drugs.

In the wake of recent global health threats such as Ebola and Zika, there is growing consensus across governments and multinational organisations of the need to better anticipate and prepare for global health threats to avoid devastating consequences for health, economies and global security. Therefore, this international commitment could prevent 700,000 deaths a year and GSK, a global leader in vaccines, is supporting these ambitious Global Goals to improve health, prosperity and sustainable development by 2030. It will set out a series of steps to address emerging global health challenges, including supporting immunisation for refugees; tackling the continued rise of antimicrobial resistance; and preparing for future public health threats or pandemics.

GSK’s latest pledges build on its long-standing and comprehensive commitments to delivering innovative medicines and vaccines and widening access to them, which will help to immunize as many people globally, as possible. This includes making a new commitment to supply its essential vaccines to internationally recognised organisations – such as Médecins Sans Frontières who are working in Syria and South Sudan, helping the thousands of displaced people who are unable to access healthcare and are potentially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable disease. GSK will also make these essential vaccines available at its lowest prices in circumstances where governments are unable to respond and it will initially apply to GSK’s pneumococcal vaccine to help protect children against diseases such as pneumonia.

This pharmaceutical company has a strong legacy in antibiotics going back 70 years and in spite of the scientific and economic obstacles, it is committed to advancing research in this field and is proposing to create a Biopreparedness Organisation (BPO), which will be a dedicated, permanent organisation operating on a no-profit, no-loss basis, focused on designing and developing new vaccines against potential public health threats. This GSK BPO facility would be based in Rockville in the States.

Last week’s the UN General Assembly’s action was an important moment, acting upon some of the very serious health challenges we are currently facing, which could hinder the progress that has been made on improving health globally. These challenges need business, governments and civil society to work together to help provide stability for those delivering healthcare to some of our most vulnerable communities.

Photo Credit: GSK