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article imageU.K. pledges to lead antimicrobial resistance fight

By Tim Sandle     Jul 18, 2014 in Health
London - Newly anointed British Science Minister Greg Clark has announced a new 'war cabinet' of the UK's seven research councils to lead the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
According to PharmaTimes, Conservative Minister Clark unveiled what he is terming “a united strategy” for gathering research that should drive forward important advances in the field. Collaboration between different areas of research is regarded as a critical step to address the problem.
The cross-council initiative will coordinate the work of medical researchers, biologists, engineers, vets, economists, social scientists, mathematicians and even designers, in a multi-pronged approach designed to tackle the wide-ranging aspects of antibiotics problem.
According to the Medical Research Council, which will lead the initiative, in the U.K. alone around £275 million has been spent on antimicrobial resistance since 2007 but to little success. No new class of antibiotics has discovered since 1987, and as the situation stands the U.K.’s current arsenal will be rendered "all but useless within the next two decades", bringing medicine back to the dark ages. Humans face the very real risk of a future without antibiotics. The implications of this are that life expectancy could fall due to people dying from diseases that are readily treatable today.
The new initiative will focus identifying the characteristics of antimicrobial resistance in both humans and in farm and wild animals to help revive the pipeline, as well as looking at how to track its extent across different environments (the sea, rivers, air, soil and in organisms, as well as in food, homes and hospitals.)
Commenting on the plan, Professor Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the MRC said: "This is about tackling the problem at every level and in every environment – from labs to livestock, from finding new diagnostic tools to educating professionals and the public. One hundred years ago 25% of all deaths were due to bacterial infection. We cannot return to those days.”
More about antimicrobial resistance, Antibiotics, Contamination, Infection, Health
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