Indo-Swiss AMR Innovation Dialogue

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most pressing public health crises humankind is faced with. We are on the brink of running out of our most precious tools in modern medicine—antibiotics. In a few days, we are organising the Indo-Swiss AMR Innovation Dialogue between nearly 50 Swiss and Indian experts to discuss innovative approaches to address AMR and find collaborative ways to confront the crisis.

The Silent Pandemic of AMR

AMR has dangerous implications for human life, including the possibility of death triggered by bacterial infections. The last time a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics was developed was about five decades ago. Lack of awareness around AMR is prompting people to misuse antibiotics for infections that are not bacterial—particularly viral and fungal. The disease-causing bacteria in our bodies are developing resistance to the antibiotics and very soon we’ll run out of the strongest antibiotics available. This has serious consequences—when we genuinely need antibiotics to deal with medical issues like C-section deliveries, basic surgeries, pneumonia and tuberculosis among others, the antibiotics will be rendered useless and will not work on killing the disease-causing bacteria.

Pharmaceutical companies have largely stayed away from antimicrobial work because the science is hard and the regulatory environment is complex. It also takes years of research and trials to develop new antibiotics, whereas bacteria mutate every 20 minutes. So when a new class of antibiotics is developed, it would  The motivation for pharmaceutical companies to invest resources to develop a new class of antibiotics is low because it would have to be used only as a last-resort drug—when all else fails—and wouldn’t be available as a mass product. Therefore, the opportunity to make money is far less compared to drugs for cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other such illnesses.

On October 30, during the AMR Dialogue we will launch the Indo-Swiss Innovation Platform, through which Swissnex in India, in collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in India and the Swiss Business Hub will facilitate strategic partnerships between India and Switzerland in areas of health, sustainability and digital transformation. The idea of the Platform is to consider matters beyond initial conversations in a planned and thorough manner that lead to tangible, measurable outcomes. AMR is just the beginning—we have several initiatives planned as part of the Platform through which we hope to deepen collaboration in areas that are relevant to both India and Switzerland.