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UK/China fund on antimicrobial resistance to launch

Plan to attract £1 billion investment in research

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 26 October 2015

A joint fund between the UK and China is to be launched to boost a global response to the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through dedicated research.

Both countries will establish the Global Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Research Innovation Fund and encourage further investment from other governments and the private sector to tackle the issue.

The overuse and over-reliance on antibiotics has created the problem of AMR.

England’s chief medical officer Dame Professor Sally Davies, has predicted that unless tackled soon, AMR could lead to what she called the end of modern medicine.

If unchallenged, AMR could mean routine operations and childbirth would become increasingly dangerous without the required antibiotics. In the UK, more than 25,000 deaths a year are attributed to drug resistant infections.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the new fund following the state visit last week of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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

This new partnership is designed to increase the profile of AMR globally and aims to attract £1 billion of investment to stimulate the essential research needed to deal with the issue.

Lord Jim O’Neill, who is leading a global review into the growing issue of AMR, has warned 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. He has recommended that significant investment is needed to boost research into this area.

Following his meetings with President Xi, Mr Cameron said: “We have talked about some of the less familiar challenges we now face, such as how to tackle antimicrobial 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.”

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