CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded $22 million to 30 organizations around the world.

The funds have been used to establish two new global networks, which will aid 30 organizations in combating antimicrobial resistance (AR) and other threats within healthcare.

The Global Action in Healthcare Network, and the Global AR Laboratory and Response Network will help 50 countries around the world build programs to fight issues in healthcare, like those being experienced during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every country in the world is an importer and an exporter of germs, including antibiotic resistant germs, and this is our way of trying to help in terms of detecting those resistant pathogens and resistant germs before they spread globally and stop them wherever they might be occurring,” said Michael Craig, Director, CDC Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy.

The new networks will focus on preventing infections in healthcare settings, building laboratory assets that will improve the ability to detect AR organisms and developing new ways to detect threats like AR and COVID-19 faster and respond to them.

“AR germs are those that can make it so antibiotics don’t work anymore… and when the antibiotics stop working, that means that the way that we treat those, the way we heal those and cure those can go away, and so the rise of antibiotic resistance potentially means that were going to have infection that we can’t treat anymore, which is a very scary prospect and something that we all can play a roll in and we all need to do something to stop,” said Craig.

According to Craig, everyone can take steps to protect themselves; common sense prevention like hand washing and practicing good hygiene can protect from drug resistant germs and germs that are untreatable. People should consult with their doctor about the preventative measures they can take to prevent infections, like vaccines.

The Global Action in Healthcare Network is intended to create a collaborative network of countries and institutions that will identify and reduce priority infections in healthcare settings through infection prevention and control.

According to Craig, healthcare settings can be the epicenter of infectious disease breakouts.

The Global AR Lab and Responsive Network will target new and existing AR threats. The network will improve the detection of AR threats, and identify the risk factors for the spread of AR across health care and communities. This new network will build on the existing U.S. AR Lab Network which was established in 2016.