The next pandemic: Applying learnings from COVID-19 to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance

TORONTO, June 28, 2022 /CNW/ - Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is considered the 'silent pandemic' and develops when microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses become resistant to treatments like antibiotics, meaning these treatments are less effective or do not work at all. AMR occurs naturally but emergence and spread increase with inappropriate or overuse of antimicrobials. Laboratory Medicine plays a key role in fighting the development of AMR.

LabCANDx logo (CNW Group/LabCANDx)
LabCANDx logo (CNW Group/LabCANDx)

Leveraging diagnostics to improve patient outcomes and transform healthcare delivery:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is predicted to be the #1 cause of death globally by 20501

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and contribution of laboratory medicine

  • Continued investments in Laboratory Medicine to fight AMR are required to implement effective surveillance, infection prevention, control measures and antimicrobial stewardship.

The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the core need for and importance of robust laboratory infrastructure, not only to protect the health of Canadians but also to respond quickly to emerging challenges. A major narrative during the pandemic has been the limited access to modern, automated, and decentralized diagnostic tests across the country. Canada needs to continue to invest and build broad based testing infrastructure and capacity to safeguard the health of Canadians.

In 2018, AMR alone contributed to nearly 5,400 deaths in Canada – about 15 deaths per day.2  It is predicted that by 2050, there will be 10 million deaths worldwide, a 14.3-fold increase. making AMR the number one cause of deaths before cancer or cardiovascular disease.3  In Canada, one out of every 16 patients admitted to hospital will get a multidrug resistant infection and about $250 million will be spent on direct medical costs to treat these infections annually.4 AMR is a global priority and one of the key topics on the agenda of the 2022 G7 Summit.5 The use of precision medicine and rapid diagnostics can determine if an infection is bacterial or viral, identify bacterial type(s), identify any drug resistance, and assess drug susceptibility, thus changing the way antimicrobials are used.

Dr. Andrew Morris (Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Infectious Disease specialist and the Medical Director of the Sinai Health-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, Toronto, Canada) says "Laboratory Medicine plays a critical role in fighting the development of AMR by helping to develop and implement effective surveillance, infection prevention, control measures and antimicrobial stewardship. All of these activities help mitigate the risk of AMR."

Laboratory Medicine's innovative approaches to fighting antimicrobial resistance delivers on the quadruple aim of improving: patient outcomes, general population health, healthcare sustainability and care team well-being. LabCANDx supports the Canadian Government's Pan-Canadian Framework for Action on AMR6 and G7 Health Ministers' commitments related to tackling AMR, the need for action including fostering innovation related to Laboratory Medicine.7

LabCANDx is requesting that Canada invest $3.75 billion over a five-year period, to renew the sector. Bolstering Laboratory Medicine includes recruitment and the education and training of Laboratory Medicine personnel, as well as, upgrading laboratory infrastructure and technologies that have the potential to fundamentally shift the way healthcare is provided and accessed across the country Technologies such as Remote Diagnostics, Remote Monitoring, Point of Care Testing; Molecular and Genomic Testing; Companion Diagnostics; and Artificial Intelligence can help transform healthcare delivery.  These technologies align with many of the "2022 Health Technology Trends to Watch" identified by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Investments in these areas will help drive system efficiencies, while delivering better patient outcomes and helping address the massive medical and surgical procedure backlog due to the pandemic.8



O'Neill J. Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations. May 2016. Available at: Accessed May 23, 2022.


Council of Canadian Academies, 2019. When Antibiotics Fail. Ottawa (ON):
The Expert Panel on the Potential Socio-Economic Impacts of Antimicrobial Resistance in
Canada, Council of Canadian Academies. Available at
.  Accessed May 29, 2022


O'Neill J. Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations. May 2016. Available at: Accessed May 23, 2022.


Njoo H. Canadian context on antimicrobial resistance. CADTH 2018. Available at:
. Accessed May 23, 2022.

unique.pdf  Accessed May 23, 2022.

. Accessed May 23, 2022.

unique.pdf  Accessed May 23, 2022.

Accessed May 23, 2022.

About LabCANDx

The LabCANDx coalition is focused on working with health system leaders to ensure the right test, for the right patient, at the right time, with appropriate interpretation to inform clinical decisions for better patient outcomes and health care sustainability. One of the objectives of this initiative is to raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance.

The LabCANDx Coalition consists of more than 35 organizations representing public and private medical laboratories, pathologists, clinicians, technologists, in-vitro diagnostics manufacturers, regional health authorities, medical associations and colleges, accreditation agencies, as well as patient advocacy groups that have come together to provide a common voice for Laboratory Medicine in Canada.  LabCANDx is committed to promoting and advancing Laboratory Medicine's contribution to effective, appropriate patient-focused health care and to foster improved value-based health care outcomes.



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