n the time of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) there are numerous attempts to compare across national boundaries and rank governments for their action against the virus. In this context the ‘universal’ ambition of the Wellcome Trust report on communicating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is somewhat refreshing, and recalls some of the older ambition of the global health field. Though the report now feels some time ago – it was published in November 2019 - the pandemic does not mean AMR has gone away. Indeed, it may be worsened in the context of rescue prescribing, both for secondary infections following COVID-19 and other health conditions where antibiotics may stand in for scarce or compromised care. In this open letter we wish to respond to the Trust report – locating it in the field of social science work on AMR – and proposing some directions for further discussion. In particular, writing against the backdrop of the viral pandemic, we explore how both COVID-19 and AMR raise questions about our attachment to modern medicine, about the motivating value appeals to vulnerability and health inequality. We therefore call for the report and others to be the start of the further long-distance conversations and experimentation across different fields.