Antimicrobial Resistance Crisis Demands Global Solution

March 24, 2017

Washington, DC – March 24, 2017 – Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global threat. Recognizing the significance of antimicrobial resistance across the spectrum of microbiology, the American Society for Microbiology established a new initiative to complement existing efforts, and provide a mechanism for moving research projects forward. A summary from the ASM AMR steering committee that took place in August, 2016 outlines the needs and opportunities that the initiative will address to combat the AMR crisis.

This new ASM initiative is a multi-stakeholder mechanism that shares information on the current state of AMR, and identifies relevant opportunities to address AMR challenges across the microbial sciences. The initiative’s subject matter experts have identified potential approaches to maximize the impact on public, animal, and environmental health, expand surveillance, promote rapid diagnostics, and implement stewardship across settings.

“The Steering Committee is well positioned to advise the Society on interdisciplinary One Health approaches and opportunities to address critical data gaps and human resource needs to confront this multifaceted, urgent domestic and global challenge,” said Steering Committee co-chair James Tiedje, University Distinguished Professor and director of the NSF Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University.

AMR has always been a top priority for ASM, as penned in the USA Today editorial by ASM president Susan Sharp, which was part of their infectious diseases campaign. Sharp discusses global strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance, and shares what ASM is doing to help solve this global crisis.

ASM’s initiative aims to address clinical and environmental AMR issues, as well as AMR surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship. Needs and opportunities that the initiative will continue to address include data to guide therapy decisions, expanded efforts into surveillance on how AMR is spread, critical funding to support research and surveillance, basic research for antibiotic development, standardization and modeling studies, and using data to inform prevention activities.

ASM has long been engaged in issues related to antimicrobial resistance. The American Academy of Microbiology convened colloquia on antibiotic resistance in 1999 and in 2008, and prepared an FAQ series on MRSA in 2013. ASM’s Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) has supported legislation to address AMR and endorsed the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistance Bacteria, and ASM president Susan Sharp attended the United Nations General Assembly that focused on antimicrobial resistance in 2016. Additionally, key papers on AMR have been published in ASM journals, including the first report of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance (mcr-1 gene) in the United States.

On March 22nd, ASM hosts the Conference on Innovative Microbial Ecology for Mitigation of Antibiotic Resistance and Bacterial Diseases in Crystal City, Virginia. The conference focuses on cutting-edge scientific findings on the ecology of antibiotic resistant microorganisms and innovative mitigation strategies in food, agriculture, and medicine. On September 6th in Boston, ASM and the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) will co-sponsor a conference on antimicrobial drug development that will aim to address the challenges, opportunities, and requirements for developing drugs for AMR.


The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences. ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.