The UK government has announced that it will stream £30 million into global efforts to fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The funding will be delivered through four new projects as part of the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), which will primarily benefit people in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of infection is greatest.
The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator - a non-profit international partnership backing research on the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria - will get £20 million to help support scientific research to develop new vaccines and alternatives to antibiotics against drug-resistant bacterial infections.
£5 million will go to a new bilateral partnership with Argentina supporting research to tackle AMR in agriculture and the impact on the environment – delivered via the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council.
The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), a global non-profit group focused on developing, evaluating and delivering affordable diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases, will also receive £5 million to support its work.
The government said it is also giving £1 million to non-profit organisation the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), in support of its programme on sexually transmitted infections, focusing on the development of a new antibiotic for drug-resistant gonorrhea.
The move “is further evidence of the UK collaborating with international partners to lead global efforts to tackle AMR,” said Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer. “The GAMRIF investments aim to protect the world’s most vulnerable and tackle AMR where the burden of infection is greatest.”
“This new investment cements our commitment to world-leading new research to tackle AMR on a global scale, and these innovative projects have the potential to develop real solutions and save lives,” added health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) also welcomed the move.
“The commitment by the UK Government to fund £30 million to help fight antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is great news and an example of the kind of partnerships we need if we are to successfully tackle this global issue,” said its chief scientific officer Dr Sheuli Porkess.
“Detecting, preventing and controlling AMR requires a coordinated and sustained response between Government, the NHS and industry to deliver results.”
It is estimated that AMR already causes around 5,000 deaths in the UK every year.