To date, antimicrobials have been understood through largely biomedical perspectives. There has been a tendency to focus upon the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals within individual bodies. However, the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance demands we reconsider how we think about antimicrobials and their effects. Rather than understanding them primarily within bodies, it is increasingly important to consider their effects between bodies, between species and across environments. We need to reduce the drivers of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at a global level, focusing on the connections between prescribing in one country and resistance mechanisms in another. We need to engage with the ways antimicrobials within the food chain will impact upon human healthcare. Moreover, we need to realise what happens within the ward will impact upon the environment (through waste water). In the future, imaginative interventions will be required that must make the most of biomedicine but draw equally across a wider range of disciplines (e.g. engineering, ecologists) and include an ever-increasing set of professionals (e.g. nurses, veterinarians and farmers). Such collective action demands a shift to working in new interdisciplinary, inter-professional ways. Mutual respect and understanding is required to enable each perspective to be combined to yield synergistic effects.
- antimicrobial resistance