UK government commits over £30 million of funding to tackle antimicrobial resistance

24 May 2018

The UK government has announced that it will be committing over £30 million of funding and will continue to lead the global fight against antimicrobial resistance. The funding will be delivered via four new projects as part of the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when microbes including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to the drugs (including antibiotics) which would normally kill them. This leaves us powerless to treat what are normally routine infections.

The UK government's Global AMR Innovation Fund is providing seed funding for innovative research and development to tackle the growing threat of AMR globally. This funding will be targeted in low and middle income countries (LMICs) where the burden is greatest and is crucial for the health and economic prosperity of the world's poorest.

The new projects are:

  • Committing £20 million to the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X). CARB-X is a non-profit international partnership that supports the world's largest portfolio of innovative early product development research projects focused on the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria. This commitment will support scientific research around the world to develop new vaccines and alternatives-to-antibiotics against drug-resistant bacterial infections in humans.

  • Providing £5 million for a new bilateral partnership with Argentina supporting research to tackle AMR in agriculture and the impact on the environment. This will be delivered via the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and NERC, both part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI). The bilateral partnership will be delivered and matched-funded, on a resource basis, by the National Scientific & Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina.

  • Investing £5 million in the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND). FIND is a global non-profit organisation aimed at the development, evaluation and delivery of high-quality affordable diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases. This funding will support FIND's work to enhance the impact of diagnostic tools. The commissioned development will specifically target the advancement and establishment of connectivity of point-of-care diagnostics for AMR surveillance.

  • Investing £1 million in the Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP). GARDP is a non-profit research and development initiative addressing global public health needs by developing, delivering and assuring sustainable access of new or improved antibiotic treatments. This funding will support GARDP's programme on sexually transmitted infections. The funding will focus on the development of a new antibiotic for drug-resistant gonorrhoea.

These projects are funded by UK aid and will primarily benefit people in low and middle income countries, where the burden of infection is greatest.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer, said:

Today's announcement is further evidence of the UK collaborating with international partners to lead global efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance. The GAMRIF investments aim to protect the world's most vulnerable and tackle AMR where the burden of infection is greatest. I am pleased that the UK will be working in partnership with a range of leading organisations to deliver vital research activities across the One Health spectrum, together this represents a formidable force against the threat of superbugs.

Health & Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

Antimicrobial resistance is no longer a threat of the future - it is a problem here and now, and one that is killing hundreds of thousands of people across the world each year. 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.

GAMRIF's other projects include:

  • Innovative Veterinary Solutions for Antimicrobial Resistance (InnoVet-AMR - external link), a £17 million partnership with Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). IDRC, a Canadian Crown corporation, funds research in developing countries to create lasting change on a large scale. InnoVet-AMR will fund research to develop new vaccines and alternative-to-antimicrobials to fight AMR in livestock and aquaculture production in LMICs.

  • The UK-China Innovation Collaboration to tackle AMR - external link - with the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology (MoST). An investment of £10 million, with matched-resource funding by the Chinese government, will support ground-breaking, bilateral and unique research and development, which addresses the growing threat of drug-resistant infections and benefit people in LMICs. This is delivered by Innovate UK in the UK.

It is estimated that 5,000 deaths are caused every year in the UK because antibiotics no longer work for some infections. Lord Jim O'Neill's UK review on AMR in 2016 estimated that by 2050, if no actions are taken to contain AMR, the number of deaths could rise to 10 million by 2050 and cost the global economy up to US $100 trillion. Rising drug resistance is a threat that knows no borders, if we do not tackle it, every day procedures such as caesareans sections, cancer therapy, and hip replacements will become extremely dangerous.


Further information

Jo Thompson
Head of Communications Campaigns


Notes

1. The Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC) is the UK government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer. The Global Antimicrobial Innovation Fund was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, to address the threat of AMR.

GAMRIF is a £50 million official development assistance (ODA) investment, which means all projects funded must meet ODA-eligibility requirements, and support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low and middle income countries. The fund takes a 'One Health' approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment. The fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, global funding mechanisms and global forums.