According to a British government-commissioned review of the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, more use of vaccines reduces the need to use antibiotics. They also help in combating mcr-1 gene resistant bacteria that is resistant to all known forms of antibiotic, even last resort antibiotic colistin.

British treasury minister Jim O’Neill, who was also the head of the review, has harped on the importance of focusing on existing vaccines and also developing new ones. The report on antimicrobial resistance was published on Thursday, writes Reuters.

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“There are vaccines available now that could have a massive impact on antibiotic use and resistance, as well as saving many lives if used more widely,” said O’Neill in the report.

He added that vaccines have the capability to combat drug resistance as they lessen the need for antibiotics and reduce cases of infection. According to him, any use of antibiotics promotes development and spread of multi-drug-resistant superbugs and infections.

According to National Geographic, the British project is conducting a two-year review of antibiotic resistance at the request of Prime Minister David Cameron. The group is supported by the Wellcome Trust. May 2016 is the deadline for presenting comprehensive recommendations to ameliorate resistance.

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O’Neill’s first report pointed out how microbial and antibiotic resistance can kill an extra 10 million people a year with an estimated cost of US$100 trillion (AU$140.41 trillion) by 2050, if not brought under control.

Vaccines are also one of the most effective ways to protect fish and livestock from infections and they reduce antibiotic use in farming, a major problem these days.

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“Our own analysis on how we might use vaccines and other alternatives to tackle this crisis supports the O’Neill team’s report, and suggests they will be an important way we can reduce – but not replace – our need for antibiotics,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust.

Farrar added that vaccines are also critical for controlling epidemics such as Ebola and endemic diseases like dengue and TB.