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Call for Papers: PLOS Medicine Special Issue ‘Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance: Surveillance and Prevention’

The editors of PLOS Medicine, together with guest editors Timothy Walsh, Ramanan Laxminarayan and Ana Cristina Gales, announce a forthcoming Special Issue dedicated to bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Research submissions are now being invited.

The emergence of pathogenic bacteria which cannot be effectively treated with existing drugs has been prioritised by WHO as one of the top ten global public health threats facing humanity. Drug-resistant infections are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, and were estimated to contribute to 4.95 million deaths globally in 2019. The burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is disproportionately observed in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly sub-Saharan Africa. Without intervention, it has been estimated that global deaths attributable to AMR could reach 10 million annually by 2050.

AMR is a One Health problem and its causes lie in human, animal and environmental domains.  The overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and the potential for transmission within and between these domains is responsible for the rapid global spread of drug-resistant pathogens. Use of antibiotics increased by 65% globally between 2000 and 2015, and more than doubled in LMICs over the same period. Pathogen AMR evolution can limit the effectiveness of available antibiotics and far outpaces our ability to develop new drugs. Of the 32 antibiotics in clinical development to tackle priority pathogens in 2019, only six were classified as innovative. Action to impede the development of drug-resistance is urgently required.

The guest editors and PLOS Medicine editors seek high-quality and high-impact research submissions related to the main drivers, surveillance and prevention of bacterial antimicrobial resistance, particularly in low- and middle-income settings. We are particularly interested in receiving research submissions in the following areas:

  • The prevalence and clinical challenges of drug-resistant bacteria, including specific pathogen–drug combinations, particularly in clinically vulnerable populations e.g. neonates, patients who are immunosuppressed, etc.
  • Interventions to reduce disease transmission, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), vaccination, and infection prevention and control
  • Diagnostics informing antimicrobial prescribing, including pathogen genomics, rapid diagnostics, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of diagnostic techniques 
  • Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, including sales and availability of over-the-counter antimicrobials, adherence to antimicrobial stewardship programmes, and antimicrobial use in healthcare and agricultural settings
  • Economics of antimicrobial access and use, particularly in LMIC settings and how this is influenced by resistance
  • One Health interventions to reduce AMR by curbing use of antibiotics in agriculture, food animal production and aquaculture

Submission of articles related to pathogens of highest concern and highest global burden (excluding Mycobacterium tuberculosis) are strongly encouraged, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Study designs that will be considered include, but are not limited to, prospectively registered clinical trials, observational studies (particularly those utilising large datasets), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, modelling studies and cost-effectiveness analyses.

To submit your manuscript for consideration, please visit http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/s/submit-now, indicating your interest in the Special Issue in your cover letter. Questions about the Special Issue can be directed to plosmedicine@plos.org.

The submission deadline is July 15th 2022.

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