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UK and China Show Solidarity in Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

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News

UK and China Show Solidarity in Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance

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The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, have announced winners of research competitions worth £20 million to address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans and animals. The announcement coincides with publication of the UK Government’s strategy to tackle AMR. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, 490 000 people developed multi-drug resistant TB globally, and drug resistance is starting to complicate the fight against HIV and malaria.

Funding sources awarded by Innovate UK include a joint venture by the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC’s) Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), who are pulling together to address this global issue. Recipients include The Vaccine Group, based in Plymouth, the Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute (SHVRI), and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS), who collaboratively are looking to address Streptococcus suis (S. suis) infection in pigs. A major issue for the pork industry, zoonotic transmission of S. suis can also cause serious infection in humans.

SHVRI and CAAS are also working with GAMA Healthcare Ltd in Watford to develop a non-antibiotic treatment of multi-drug resistant organisms in poultry. With a growing population and inevitable increasing demands on food resources, ensuring the ongoing health of our food animals is a strong concern in addition to direct risks to our own health.

The Jim O’Neill Review on AMR published in 2016 found that China used around half the antibiotics consumed worldwide, of which 48% were consumed by humans and the rest used in food-producing animals. The report suggests that AMR could cause 1 million premature deaths in China alone annually by 2050.

In a release from the UK Government, Dr Kath Mackay, Interim Director - Ageing Society, Health & Nutrition for Innovate UK commented “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest global challenges in healthcare. It has been estimated that the AMR threat could lead to 10 million extra deaths a year and cost the global economy up to £75 trillion by 2050. This partnership between China and the UK’s world-leading bio-industry is a vital contribution to tacking this issue through international co-operation.” It is hoped that by working in synergy, these partnerships will accelerate research progress which would not be possible independently.

An additional £10 million has been awarded to UK organizations, with funds from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), focused on new AMR therapies and infection prevention and control in humans.
Meet The Author
Karen Steward PhD
Karen Steward PhD
Senior Science Writer
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