Antimicrobial resistance, which has been increasing at a disturbing rate, is now considered a threat to planetary health. Its consequences are even now being felt in the European Union. In fact, the mortality linked to antibiotic-resistant infections on the continent corresponds to approximately 33,000 deaths yearly and the economic burden of antimicrobial resistance has been estimated to be approximately € 1.5 billion per year. Unfortunately, there is even more bad news: the high volume of antibiotics in food-producing animals has contributed to the development of bacteria that can end up in the food chain and/or environment.
Numerous interventions to reduce the global burden of antibiotic resistance are critical measures that are recommended by international scientific public health bodies; different considerations confirm the importance of including vaccination programs in national and international strategies to reduce the resistance in humans and animals.
In order to raise awareness on the topic, the European Interdisciplinary Council on Ageing (EICA) launched in April 2020 its first international e-learning course on Antimicrobial resistance and the role of Vaccine.
Numerous interventions to reduce the global burden of antibiotic resistance such as the promotion of educational programs and campaigns and of new, safer
practices in personal and public hygiene, the development of rapid diagnostic tests, reducing/eliminating routine antibiotic use in livestock production, avoiding
antibiotic use when unnecessary and improved antibiotic stewardship are critical measures that are recommended by international scientific public health bodies. In light of the fact that drug resistant pathogens are continuing to emerge, these efforts need to be intensified and reinforced by solid, innovative approaches. In the UK alone, for example, one third of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and two third of Escherichia coli and Neisseria gonorrhoea are resistant to antibiotics. In this worrisome scenario, vaccines can be seen as an important way to block the spread of antibiotic resistance by protecting individuals from being infected and from needing antibiotics and by eradicating specific pathogens from the population, leading to herd effects or indirect protection.
- Existing flu and pneumococcal vaccines are already contributing to herd immunity;
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines, which protect against multiple types of pneumococcal bacteria, decrease the presence of the pneumococcal vaccine serotypes and reduce the genetic exchanges of resistance. After it was introduced in 2009, resistance to the main antibiotics (cephalosporins, macrolides, penicillins, tetracyclines) decreased by two thirds;
- New vaccines currently being developed will make it possible to reduce the use of antibiotics to treat Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- All of these considerations confirm the importance of including vaccination programs in national and international strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals. During this online course leading scientists and researchers from several professional fields will give presentations on a variety of aspects regarding this topic.
How to participate
The course will be available until April 27, 2021, and is open to all public health officials and health care professionals, including veterinarians. The program consists of presentations on various aspects given by leading scientists and researchers from several professional fields. Participation is free of charge, but registration is required; participants can claim 10 Continuing Medical Education (C.M.E.) credits.
VIU participates in EICA through its Ageing Program. EICA is the first scientific organization in Europe specifically fostering the translation and dissemination of results from ageing research to various professional groups, policy makers, and the general public, mainly through advanced education programs.
For further information, visit EICA website.