BEIJING: China faces a million deaths a year from antibiotic-resistant superbugs and a loss of $20 trillion by 2050, an economist and former top Goldman Sachs executive said on Thursday.
Beijing should “take ownership” of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) when it hosts the Group of 20 summit next year, said Jim O’Neill, the leader of a British government-commissioned review on the subject.
“Here is an issue that doesn’t distinguish between religion, color, race,” he said. “Whether you’re Sunni or Shiite, you’re going to get killed by AMR if we don’t do something about it,” he added.
O’Neill, former chief economist at the US investment bank and chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said that the threat put “China’s remarkable economic performance in the last decade and its enormous future potential” in jeopardy.
“Drug-resistant infections could cost the Chinese economy $20 trillion by 2050, and even more shockingly, cause an additional one million deaths per year,” he said.
The review, announced last year by British Prime Minister David Cameron, has found that by 2050, drug-resistant infections could cut global gross domestic product by 2.0 to 3.5 percent and kill 10 million people a year around the world.
In comparison cancer now accounts for about 8.2 million deaths a year, according to the review.
Several novel diseases have emerged from China in recent years, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and human outbreaks of different strains of bird flu.