Drug-resistant infections: transforming the global response
We want to transform the world's approach towards stemming the rise and spread of drug-resistant infections. Antibiotics are a vital part of modern medicine but their overuse and inappropriate use in humans and animals has caused one of the most urgent global health problems.
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. If we don’t, then routine medical procedures and operations will become dangerous or cease to be effective.
Through this key area of work we want to:
help the world fulfil the commitments made in the UN resolution on drug-resistant infections by sustaining and coordinating global action
speed up development and delivery of new or improved antibiotic treatments and diagnostics
help shape national and global strategies for tackling drug-resistant infections by generating and supporting the use of robust evidence
accelerate the clinical assessment of new or improved drugs through expanded clinical trials networks.
How should we talk about drug-resistant infections?
The language we use matters. It can make all the difference between indecision and inspiring people to act on important issues.
For the past year we’ve been learning what language helps – not hinders – progress on drug-resistant infections. We’ll publish a report detailing the findings in October 2019.
We co-hosted a two-day Call to Action in Ghana in November 2018 – catch up with the five ideas that stood out from the event. This followed our 2017 event, which brought together over 200 participants from around the world and generated more than 100 commitments to act on drug resistance.
We have contributed over $1 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support the work of the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (IACG) – an ad hoc group of global organisations and experts tasked with delivering a report and recommendations to the UN Secretary General by summer 2019.
There have been decades of under-investment in antibiotic discovery and development because of the cost and complexity of developing new antibiotics, combined with unfavourable market conditions. The result is that there aren’t enough new drugs in the antibiotics pipeline to replace those which are becoming ineffective.
To change this, Wellcome is helping to fund CARB-X, a public-private partnership which is dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research. The partnership aims to fill the current dearth of investment by providing up to $500 million over the next five years. Find out about CARB-X's top achievements so far.
launching a Wellcome Data Re-use Prize for researchers who want to explore ways to re-use the antimicrobial resistance surveillance data generated by the pharmaceutical industry.
we want to influence positive behaviour change – we're establishing an expert group with WHO to explore how to influence prescriber behaviour in low- and middle-income countries
we want to analyse the impact of antimicrobial resistance legislation and policies – eg how the ban on antimicrobials in animal production in California has affected antimicrobial resistance and human health.
Faster clinical trials
Clinical trials for new treatments for infectious diseases are long, expensive and inefficient. Up to 300 hospitals have to get involved to run a trial for each new treatment.
With partners, we’re looking at how to design and build clinical trial networks that have standardised processes.
We believe this approach could save $300 million and reduce the time needed to achieve regulatory approval for new products by at least two years.
What's at stake
Without action now, the number of people dying each year from drug-resistant infections will rise from 700,000 to 10 million by 2050.
Of every 100 hospitalised patients, seven in high-income and ten in low- and middle-income countries will develop at least one healthcare-associated infection.
Since Alexander Fleming’s famous Penicillium discovery in 1928, nearly all antibiotics have been variations on existing drugs. There has been no new class to treat the most dangerous Gram-negative bacteria since 1962.
We respond to the Open Consultation on Proposals Received for the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the Global Indicator Framework, specifically in relation to inclusion of an antimicrobial resistance-specific indicator within the Sustainable Development Goals.
Key outcomes from the second Call to Action on Antimicrobial Resistance held in Ghana, co-hosted by the Governments of Ghana, Thailand and the UK, along with the World Bank, UN Foundation and Wellcome.
The Ghana Declaration signed by the co-hosts of the Call to Action on Antimicrobial Resistance, together with civil society leaders, heads of private sector companies and the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Recommendations from a pilot project to openly publish human antimicrobial resistance surveillance data generated and collected by the pharmaceutical industry. The project was led by the Open Data Institute and funded by Wellcome.
Thousands of lives around the world could be saved every year if we can develop new antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections. The problem we need to fix is how to make antibiotic research and development sustainable.
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