Merck’s Dr. Julie Gerberding on the threat of antimicrobial resistance and COVID-19
As America’s biopharmaceutical companies work around the clock to combat COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, now is an important time to consider how we can prepare for the next public health emergency: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR occurs when microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change in ways that make the medications used to cure the infections they cause ineffective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. A key facet to fighting AMR is to ensure prescriber education to support appropriate prescribing of antibiotics.
We recently spoke with Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patient officer at Merck, about AMR and the biopharmaceutical industry’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Gerberding served as director for the CDC where she led the response for public health emergencies and disease outbreaks. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
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CAPI (Continuous AMR Partnering Initiative) unites Suppliers and Users worldwide with the aim to add to the curbing of AMR.