UK medical chief: ‘We are in an arms race against microbes’

Britain’s outgoing chief medical officer, Sally Davies, says there are still clear gaps in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

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Sally Davies, the United Kingdom’s outgoing chief medical officer, is part of a group that this week issued a stark warning to the head of the United Nations: if no action is taken on antimicrobial resistance, 10 million people worldwide could die each year by 2050.

On 29 April, the UN’s Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, which Davies co-convened, published a report that said immediate, coordinated and ambitious action is needed to avert the crisis. Countries must urgently phase out the use of antimicrobials in farming, invest in new technologies to combat resistance and strengthen regulation, it says.

A physician and haematologist, Davies was the United Kingdom’s first female chief medical officer. She spoke to Nature about the research needed to help stem resistance, and her time as a scientist at the heart of government.

By: Holly Else/Nature News

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