Cutting-edge research initiatives to develop new treatments to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will receive a cash injection of up to £39 million from the UK government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – where bacteria have evolved so much that antibiotics and other current treatments are no longer effective against infections – is a silent killer costing millions of lives across the world a year, with one in five of these deaths in children under the age of five.
Of this new funding package, up to £24 million over four years has been awarded to bolster the UK’s partnership with CARB-X – a global AMR research initiative – to support the continued early development of invaluable new antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other products to combat life threatening drug-resistant infections and prevent death and disease across the world.
The UK has already given £20 million of its ringfenced Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget to the initiative which, together with other funders, has resulted in CARB-X in turn investing nearly £40 million into the UK’s science and innovation industry.
In addition to the CARB-X grant, GAMRIF is investing £5 million over two years into the Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership (GARDP) to develop – and ensure global access to – new antibiotic treatments against major global health priorities.
The announcement comes as Health Minister Will Quince attends the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Development Minister Andrew Mitchell participates in an event on health leadership and climate change alongside the WHA. They will announce the launch of the UK government’s Global Health Framework for 2023-2025, as part of Minister Quince’s address at the WHA.
Health Minister Will Quince said: “Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to global health and has led to millions of tragic deaths per year, but the Global AMR Innovation Fund is supporting cutting-edge research and developing vital new treatments to prevent death and disease across the world.
“This funding will provide a much-needed boost to protect people from diseases such as drug-resistant gonorrhoea, life-threatening sepsis in newborn babies and serious bacterial infections.
“The UK is placing ourselves at the centre of the global health agenda and it’s fantastic to be in Geneva at the World Health Assembly to reinforce our commitment to improving health globally and building resilience against future health threats through our new Global Health Framework.”
The framework will reaffirm the UK’s commitment to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the goals adopted by all UN member states that recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education – and ensuring that people in the UK and globally live healthier, safer and longer lives.
A four-year grant of up to £10 million has also been signed with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The GAMRIF-IDRC partnership, known as InnoVet-AMR, will identify solutions to reduce the emerging risk to global health and food security posed by AMR in animals.