ESCMID Global 2024 echoes multidisciplinary calls to action

Initiatives like Harmonize and the One Health approach were spotlighted for their potential in combating these complex issues, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company

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New Delhi: Working towards a multidisciplinary approach to navigate the future of infectious diseases has been a key theme at the 34th European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) Global* 2024 congress.
Key concerns such as climate change and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) were underscored, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts beyond traditional medical realms. Initiatives like Harmonize and the One Health approach were spotlighted for their potential in combating these complex issues, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Stephanie Kurdach, Infectious Disease Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Some of the greatest challenges impacting infectious diseases include climate change and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). These are challenges that transcend the skills of scientists, researchers, and healthcare workers alone.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), climate change is one of the biggest threats to public health in the 21st century. The direct effects of climate change include increasing global temperatures and extreme weather events, but the long-term impacts include food and water shortages, as well as the exacerbation and emergence of infectious diseases. As changes in temperature, rainfall, and sea levels occur, this is causing contamination of crops, food scarcity, water scarcity, and changes in the growth survival, and virulence of pathogens.
Kurdach continues: “With overwhelming evidence indicating that climate change is altering patterns of disease transmission, mitigation strategies are essential. One such initiative is Harmonize, a multidisciplinary program from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which is working to develop digital toolkits that will allow researchers and practitioners to have the tools and infrastructure to use integrated health, climate, socioeconomic, and environmental data to monitor infectious disease risks.”
AMR, which occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial treatment, has several causative factors, including overuse of antimicrobials, improper usage of antimicrobials, and climate change. As temperatures increase due to climate change, pathogens have the capability to spread to regions of the globe where they were not previously found. This results in an increased use of antimicrobials, and subsequently, selection pressure, thereby leading to an escalation of AMR.
The risk of AMR due to climate change can be mitigated by utilizing a One Health approach – a program from the WHO that aims to unify and balance the health of people, animals, and the environment. One Health calls upon government officials, researchers, and workers across all sectors from local to global levels to prevent and respond to global health threats.
Kurdach concludes: “In addition to multidisciplinary calls for action to navigate climate change and AMR, collaboration to advance and implement new technologies is also critical. ESCMID Global 2024 featured over 70 presentations which discussed the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics for the prevention, control and management of infectious diseases.”

*Formerly known as European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID)