£85 million funding to support the international community in tackling antimicrobial resistance

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Funding of £85 million will be announced at a global event to support the international community in tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

  • UK announces up to £50 million to support countries and institutions in Africa in accessing essential antimicrobial drugs 
  • Additionally, up to £25 million which includes support to Caribbean countries and territories in strengthening surveillance systems for AMR, to identify and tackle outbreaks before they develop. And a further £10 million to help establish an international scientific panel to coordinate global action
  • Funding announced today at a global meeting, bringing world leaders and experts together to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance 

A package of up to £85 million to support the international community in tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, a global issue that makes infections difficult or impossible to treat, will be announced today by the UK Government. 

World leaders and experts, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the World Bank will attend a global event hosted by the Royal Society to agree priority actions to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and hear accounts from AMR survivors. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will also be in attendance.

The UK Government will announce the following initiatives: 

  • Up to £50 million to partner with countries in Africa for improving access to essential antimicrobial drugs. It builds on ongoing work by the UK Global AMR Innovation Fund. This will be done in partnerships with low- and middle-income countries and build on local expertise. 
  • Up to £25 million which will include partnering with countries and territories in the Caribbean to strengthen surveillance systems for AMR to enable accurate monitoring of threats, through regional partners such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organisation. Building on the UK's existing investment in the Fleming Centre in London, this new funding will also allow the government to explore how it might support the delivery of AMR centres globally in alignment with the Fleming Initiative.
  • Up to £10 million over the next five years to help establish a Global Independent Scientific Panel for AMR, modelled on the success of other international panels such as the world-renowned International Panel on Climate Change. This is in partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has agreed to match this funding. 
  • In addition to these new programmes, £1.8 million has already been to create a dedicated team in the Medical Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) to support creating novel antimicrobials and diagnostics. The team will enable the UK to develop an in-depth knowledge of new technologies and build a joint understanding of antimicrobial resistance across global regulators, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. 

These new projects build on ongoing international and domestic work to prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance. This includes the recently announced National Action Plan and a partnership with countries across Asia and Africa to tackle AMR and reduce the threat posed to the UK, through the Fleming Fund backed by £210 million.  

Health Minister Stephenson said:  

Antimicrobial Resistance could render our most vital medicines useless - it is a threat the world must take extremely seriously. 

This package of up to £85 million builds on the world-leading work the UK government is already doing to support low- and middle-income countries to monitor, research and tackle this disease."

In 2019, 4.95 million global deaths were associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections. By 2050 this is set to rise to 10 million, and the global economic cost of this is calculated to be 100 trillion US dollars.   

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, if we fail to take sufficient action, the costs associated with treating resistant infections could compare to having a Covid pandemic every five years.

The event - The World Together Solving the Antibiotic Emergency - is being organised by the government in partnership with The Royal Society.

It will celebrate the successes of global action to tackle AMR and look ahead to commitments for what more the world can do collaboratively in the fight against AMR, looking ahead to the important milestone of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AMR in September.

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, said:

Today antimicrobial resistance is a global emergency posing a vast threat to our health, our development and our security. 

Global deaths from AMR are already at nearly 5 million a year. That includes more than a quarter of a million children in developing countries, half in the first month of their lives.  

We must do more to tackle this threat and do it together, because it is too big to tackle without united global action."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

Following my time as Health Secretary, I was deeply concerned about the threat of antimicrobial resistance - not just to the UK but to the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic was conclusive proof that health emergencies don't respect borders.

That's why I'm proud that the UK continues to play a pivotal role in bringing countries together to tackle emerging global health threats, and this significant funding package shows our commitment to stamping out antimicrobial resistance."

UK Special Envoy on AMR, Dame Sally Davies, said:

The global antibiotic emergency is an existential threat to communities everywhere.

As the UK Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, I am honoured to host today's event alongside the UK government and the Royal Society. This event represents a pivotal milestone for the world to move forward together and play a part in safeguarding our antibiotics for generations to come.

I call on everyone to join us to make equity, One Health and action the cornerstone of our next steps to tackle AMR."

Dr Colin Brown, Deputy Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Antimicrobial resistance is a threat to all of us. Simple lifesaving interventions in the form of antimicrobials are in danger of becoming ineffective.

Tackling this issue is a priority for UKHSA but long-term success requires global action. For antimicrobials to remain available and work effectively for everyone, we need international surveillance to identify new areas of AMR and collaboration. We also need to ensure expertise is being shared to help uncover new approaches to therapies and diagnostics for treating drug-resistant diseases. That's why working with international experts, networks and industry partners is a core part of the work we do to manage AMR in the UK and abroad."

Background

  • Last week, the government announced a new plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance, a global issue that makes infections difficult or impossible to treat. 
  • The national action plan will commit the UK to reducing its use of antimicrobials - such as antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals - in humans and animals, strengthen surveillance of drug-resistant infections before they emerge and incentivise industry to develop the next generation of treatments. 
  • The plan will build on progress towards the UK's 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance, which will see AMR contained, controlled and mitigated - protecting public health by increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability and death.  
  • In 2022, the government invested £210 million to partner with countries across Asia and Africa to tackle AMR and reduce the threat posed to the UK, through the Fleming Fund. 
  • AMR occurs when bacteria, and other microorganisms, develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, making them less responsive or unresponsive to treatment. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic usage in humans and animals is crucial to slowing the development and spread of antibiotic resistance. 
  • It is estimated that in 2019, 1.27 million deaths globally were caused by infections resistant to antibiotics. The UK is committed to playing a central role in the global effort to confront AMR by taking a comprehensive approach that leverages the country's expertise and domestic experience. 
  • The first comprehensive global study on the impact of antimicrobial resistance, carried out by GRAM in 2019, concluded that 4.95 million people died with an antibiotic-resistant infection per year, 1.27 million of which were a direct result of the bacteria causing the infection being resistant to antibiotics.
  • The Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) is a One Health UK aid fund that supports research and development around the world to reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals, and the environment for the benefit of people in LMICs.
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