Meeting marks first time the organisation has met to tackle the issue

The United Nations (UN) will meet to discuss the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and decide for the first time whether tackling it is a global priority. The meeting marks only the fourth time the UN has met to address a global health issue.

Over the past few years, antimicrobial resistance has grown into a public health crisis. Around 700,000 people die every year from resistance-related issues worldwide, according to a recent UK report. Add to this that some superbugs may already be immune to the strongest antibiotics and governments are now being urged to act.

In response, the UN will now hold a meeting with officials and health organisations in an effort to determine what form this action should take. Taking place during the UN’s two-week General Assembly meeting, the 21 September talks will address how different industrial sectors can work together to combat the threat.

It is hoped the meeting will end with a UN resolution recognising the resistance threat – a draft resolution has already been drawn up. The document calls on the World Health Organization to finalise ‘a global development and stewardship framework’, aimed at supporting the control and distribution of new antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, as well as preserving current pipelines.

The last time the UN passed a resolution on a health threat was during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.