News story

UK and China start global fund to tackle drug resistant infections

New fund to drive global response to antimicrobial resistance announced by Prime Minister during Chinese President Xi Jinping's State Visit.

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The UK and China will establish the Global Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Research Innovation Fund and encourage further investment from other governments and the private sector, helping to address one of the greatest problems facing the world of medicine today.

AMR occurs when antibiotics are overused, and bugs that would normally have been fought off by them become resistant.

The new fund will invite bids from industry, academia and other bodies. It will aim to create international partnerships to build a global response and support new research to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Lord Jim O’Neill, who is leading a global review into the growing issue of AMR, warned in a report last year that a continued rise in resistance by 2050 could potentially lead to 10 million people dying every year and cost the world up to $100 trillion.

The Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Professor Sally Davies, has predicted that unless tackled now, AMR could lead to the end of modern medicine as we know it. It could lead to routine operations and even childbirth becoming increasingly dangerous without the required antibiotics. In the UK, over 25,000 deaths a year are attributed to drug resistant infections.

Following his meetings with President Xi, the Prime Minister said:

We have talked about some of the less familiar challenges we now face, such as how to tackle anti-microbial resistance, where the UK is a world leader. And I am pleased to announce that we have established a new fund to support vital research and development on this issue.

The new partnership will commit to move AMR up the global agenda, and aims to attract £1 billion investment to stimulate the essential research needed to deal with this issue. Lord Jim O‘Neill recommended last year that significant investment was needed to, and the UK and China are now leading the way to address this urgent need.

Published 23 October 2015