Modern medicine relies on being able to treat infectious diseases with antimicrobial drugs. But infections develop resistance, and there aren’t enough new drugs in the pipeline. We must act now to limit the future impact of drug-resistant infections.

Priority areas

We set priority areas where we want to see, lead and be accountable for change.

This priority area will not involve a dedicated funding call.

Through our schemes, we will continue to fund a breadth of science research.

Explore other priority areas

Learn more

We set priority areas where we want to see, lead and be accountable for change.

This priority area will not involve a dedicated funding call.

Through our schemes, we will continue to fund a breadth of science research.

Explore other priority areas

Four ways we are taking action

We are taking coordinated action to safeguard our capacity to treat infectious diseases in the future.

We already have ways to support people with great ideas relating to drug-resistant infections, so this is not a funding call. It’s a new way for us to increase the impact of our work to improve health.

Effective global governance

In 2016, the United Nations passed a resolution to tackle drug-resistant infections, calling for an international effort across human, animal and environmental health. Wellcome is working with policy makers to support the development of a global framework to coordinate, monitor and evaluate progress.

We are also supporting the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Collaboration Hub, a new body announced at G20 2017 to coordinate the discovery and development of urgently needed antimicrobial drugs. The hub will work with existing partnerships, such as CARB-X. 

New treatments

CARB-X, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, will fund more than 20 potential new antibiotics, diagnostics and preventative approaches in the next five years. Supporting these projects with expertise in drug discovery, business support and product development, CARB-X will speed up progress towards clinical trials in people. Wellcome is a partner in CARB-X and we aim to have at least one new drug registered by 2027.

Faster clinical trials 

Clinical trials for infectious diseases are long, expensive and inefficient. With partners around the world, Wellcome is building global clinical trial networks to innovate and standardise protocols and make trials more efficient. We reckon this approach could save $300 million and take at least two years off the time needed to achieve regulatory approval for new products.

Evidence for decision-making

The epidemiology of drug-resistant infections – how resistance is transmitted, and the effects of over-using antibiotics, for example – is not yet at a standard that can fully inform decisions for action. Wellcome is creating a global portfolio of open research and data to help guide national and global strategies for tackling drug-resistant infections.

What's at stake

  • Many common operations, from cataracts to hip replacements, would be too dangerous to perform without effective antibiotics.
  • Without action now, the number of people dying each year from drug-resistant infections will rise from 700,000 to 10 million by 2050.
  • Up to 300 hospitals have to get involved to run a clinical trial of a new treatment for an infectious disease.

What we want to achieve

We will help the world to fulfil the commitments made in the UN’s resolution on drug-resistant infections within five years. A global plan to reduce the impact of drug-resistant infections will be in place, based on increasingly robust epidemiology that will guide priorities and strategies.

Through faster and more effective clinical trials, at least one potential new antimicrobial drug or new way of using drugs will be available. And through CARB-X, at least one new antimicrobial drug will be registered by 2027, with several more coming through a well-supported pipeline.

We have an opportunity and a responsibility to transform the world’s approach to preventing and treating infectious diseases. If we act now, we can minimise the threat of drug-resistant infections, saving millions of lives and safeguarding the medical progress of the past hundred years for future generations.

Reports and articles

Sustaining global action on antimicrobial resistance

A summary of what’s been achieved in the last year since leaders met at the UN General Assembly 2016 and made declarations to commit to work on drug-resistant infections.

Read the report [PDF 1.1MB]

Evidence for action on antimicrobial resistance

We propose concrete interventions to combat the real and growing threat of drug-resistant infections.

Read the report [PDF 3.1MB]

More reports and articles

See all of our reports and articles on drug-resistant infections

Our team

We are establishing a strategic advisory committee, and are working closely with other experts and partner organisations, including research and policy experts, clinical scientists, product developers, non-governmental organisations and other funders.

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact the team:

dri@wellcome.ac.uk