Post on 25 May 2023

£39 million for AMR research as UK launches Global Health Framework

  • Funding includes up to £25 million award to support the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other products to combat life-threatening drug-resistant infections
  • UK government launches the new Global Health Framework to build strong health systems across the world and tackle global health threats

Cutting-edge research initiatives to develop new treatments to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – known as the ‘silent killer’ – will receive a cash injection of up to £39 million from the UK government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).

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 5 of these deaths in children under the age of 5.

Of this new funding package, up to £24 million over 4 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 world-leading science and innovation industry.

In addition to the CARB-X grant, GAMRIF is investing £5 million over 2 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 to 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.

The key aims of the framework are to:

  • strengthen global health security through improving our preparedness and response to future epidemics, pandemics, drug-resistant infections, and climate change
  • reform the global health architecture, including through a strengthened World Health Organization, to drive more coherent governance and collaboration across the international system
  • strengthen country health systems and address key risk factors for ill health, working towards ending the preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children in the world’s poorest countries, and enabling women and girls to exercise their rights
  • advance UK leadership in science and technology, strengthening the global health research base of UK and partner countries, while supporting trade and investment

The framework supports the UK’s engagement with international partners and organisations and will provide the opportunity to build on existing relationships and identify new opportunities for collaboration to tackle health threats around the world.

Foreign Minister Andrew Mitchell said:

2023 is a critical moment towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The UK government has a proud history of leadership in global health.

The UK is committed to creating strong and inclusive health systems globally, that help end the preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children and are resilient to global health threats.

Through investment, innovation and engagement with key partners, we can develop a healthier, safer and more prosperous world for everyone.

A 4-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.

Minister Quince will also meet with the Ministerial Alliance of Champions against AMR to discuss plans and priorities for tackling AMR over the next year. Minister Mitchell will attend a UK-led climate and health event alongside the WHA hosted with the Netherlands, UAE, Fiji and the World Bank with assistance from Wellcome Trust to highlight how the UK is helping accelerate action on climate and health.

Source: UK government