Department of Health signs MOU with Argentina that will lead to £5 million support via UKRI to tackle AMR in agriculture and impact on the environment
The UK government has announced that it will be committing over £30 million of funding and 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). One of these projects will be delivered by BBSRC and NERC on behalf of UKRI.
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 (GAMRIF) 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 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 and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), both part of UK Research and Innovation. The bilateral partnership will delivered and matched-funded, on a resource basis, by the National Scientific and 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 and 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 (STI). 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 (AMR). 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 and 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;
- InnoVet-AMR 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 with the Chinese Ministry of Science and 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 5000 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 $100 trillion US Dollars. 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.
Notes to editors
- After 11:30am on 22 May 2018, this story will appear on DHSC's GOV.UK page. This will include links to each individual announcement if you would like to find out more information
- The GAMRIF partnership with CARB-X was announced at the launch of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance R&D Hub during the 2018 World Health Assembly (WHA). The Hub, which was called for by the G20 leaders in 2017, will work to advance international funding, co-ordination and collaboration for research and development of antimicrobial medicines
- The UK-Argentina partnership was announced during a bilateral meeting attended by UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt and the Argentinian Health Secretary, Professor Dr Adolfo Rubinstein as part of the 2018 WHA
- The funding for FIND was announced at a WHA side event, ‘Diagnostics and the fight against superbugs’ by Cassandra Kelly-Cirino, Director of Emerging Threats at FIND
- GAMRIF is an 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 (LMICs)
- The funding for GARDP was pledged following the Berlin Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers that specifically called for ‘broadening the voluntary financial support’ for initiatives, including GARDP, which ‘reinvigorate research and development in science and industry for antimicrobials.’
- GARDP was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi), and is an important element of WHO’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. GARDP is incubated by DNDi, which currently provides GARDP’s governance. The funding for GARDP was pledged following the Berlin Declaration of the G20 Health Ministers that specifically called for ‘broadening the voluntary financial support’ for initiatives, including GARDP, which ;‘reinvigorate research and development in science and industry for antimicrobials.’
About the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)
The Department for Health and 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 (GAMRIF) 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 (LMICs). 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 fora.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
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