Projections of the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) paint a grim picture for what could happen to the world’s economy if the problem is left unchecked. Research commissioned by the U.K.’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance show that a continued rise in resistance would, by 2050, lead to 10 million deaths every year and a reduction of 2 to 3.5 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In July, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of the new review panel chaired by economist Jim O’Neill to investigate antibiotic overuse and why new drugs are not being developed. The Review’s first paper exploring the economic impacts of AMR was released Thursday. The findings in the paper are based on two scenarios modeled by RAND Europe and KPMG. The scenarios involved three bacteria that already show concerning resistance levels (Klebsiella pneumonia, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus) and three broader public health issues for which resistance is a concern (HIV, tuberculosis and malaria). The RAND Europe scenario modeled what would happen if antimicrobial drug resistance rates rose to 100 percent after 15 years, with the number of cases of infection held constant. The KPMG scenario looked at what would happen if resistance rose by 40 percent from today’s levels and the number of infections doubled as a result of people being infected for longer, leading to more transmission. According to the research, these scenarios would cost $60-100 trillion U.S. dollars — equivalent to the loss of about one year’s total global output — and cause 300 million people to die prematurely over the next 35 years. E. coli, malaria and TB had the biggest impact on the results. “Malaria resistance leads to the greatest numbers of fatalities, while E. coli is the largest detractor from GDP accounting for almost half the total economic impact in RAND’s results,” the report states. “Because malaria and TB vary far more by region than E. coli in the studies, they are the largest drivers of differences between countries and regions.” The Review noted that the studies estimate only a partial impact because of the lack of readily available data and because the research focused on global GDP, leaving out other issues such as social and health care costs. What the figures fail to fully capture are the potentially devastating secondary effects of AMR. “It is not clear how many more people will get infections when prophylactic antibiotics do not work, nor do we know how many people will opt to take on the risk and still have procedures,” reads the report. Since it’s incredibly difficult to estimate the economic costs of secondary health effects, the Review opted instead to estimate how valuable those procedures are. They estimate that cesarean sections add about 2 percent to world GDP, joint replacements add 0.65 percent, the cancer drugs created since the 1970s add more than 0.75 percent, and organ transplants add about 0.1 percent. Combined, these procedures contribute almost 4 percent to the world’s GDP. These benefits wouldn’t be entirely lost due to AMR, but some portion of them would be. The overall message of the report is that the cost of taking action now to slow the spread of resistance is much smaller than what it could cost over time. “This might be one of the world’s biggest problems, but it does not need to be its hardest,” the report states. “At the core of this Review is the conviction that we need to preserve and further support the huge progress in medicine and poverty alleviation that has taken place over the last 25 years. It would be unforgiveable if the great progress made in combatting infectious diseases could be threatened by the lack of new drugs that are within reach, or for lack of common sense investment in infrastructure that keeps us safe from avoidable infections.” The Review will be studying four other themes related to AMR and recommending a set of actions by the summer of 2016 that it believes should be agreed to internationally. The other issues include changing antimicrobial use to reduce the rise of resistance, boosting the development of new drugs, potential alternative therapies, and the need for coherent international action that spans drug regulation and drug use across humans, animals and the environment.