„Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis – a slow motion tsunami. The situation is bad, and getting worse."
Margaret Chan, former WHO Director-General, September 2016
In September 2019, global leaders will meet again in New York holding high-level meetings to discuss the growing resistance to antibiotics worldwide. The filming of “Antimicrobial Resistance Fighters” started in 2016 when the United Nations agreed on common guidelines in the health sector. The representatives of the international community are placing the topic at the top of the agenda - because experts predict that the number of deaths from antibiotic-resistant germs could increase tenfold by 2050. If nothing is done, these pathogens could kill ten million people every year, and antibiotic resistance would be the number one cause of death worldwide.
Is a new era dawning for medicine? The first step into the postantibiotic age has already been taken. Pan-resistant germs already exist today - pathogens that are resistant to all available antibiotics. Pharmageddon can only be prevented, if we act quickly and decisively. A world without antibiotics would be very different from the world we live in today: As in the 19th century, masses of people would die from the simplest infections, life-saving operations and the treatment of serious diseases would no longer be feasible because of the consequential risks.
How did this happen, and what can we do? ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE FIGHTERS is on the global search for the reasons and solutions for the crisis and is relentlessly demonstrating the international connections that are leading to an ever more rapid spread of resistance. Starting from the UN Special Assembly, author Michael Wech accompanies antibiotics experts, such as economist Jim O'Neill, over a period of two years and takes the viewer to hot spots such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, Lower Saxony or Reno, Nevada. The film shows how much the problem has been ignored for a long time against better judgement. And it makes it clear how new resistance mechanisms could emerge that were hardly conceivable until recently. How the mass use of antibiotics in animal fattening can lead to the uncontrolled release of resistant germs into the environment. That negligence and powerful economic interests, which put their profit above the well-being of people, have been putting our lives at risk for decades. And at the same time, well-known companies are continuously withdrawing from antibiotics research because immense development costs and increasing resistance to new antibiotics make their business unfeasible. Although research is a decisive key - because in the race against the inevitable, the solution lies right in front of us, we just have to get to grips with it.
This is how the documentary develops into a real science thriller, with the "Resistance Fighters" themselves at its center: Doctors who desperately fight against development, scientists who revolt, patients who struggle with death because of resistant germs and diplomats who work for concrete solutions. An exciting portrait of an increasingly uncontrollable crisis that gives an insight into what we are actually dealing with: Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest global challenges of our time.
ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE FIGHTERS was shot completely in 4K. The film was directed by Michael Wech (Boris Becker - Der Spieler, Der lange Arm des IS, Todesflug MH-17, Experiment Energiewende, etc.). ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE FIGHTERS was produced by Emmy Award winner Leopold Hoesch, BROADVIEW Pictures, in co-production with ZDF and in collaboration with ARTE. The production was supported by HessenFilm and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW.