A joint fund of £9 million to support research on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) has been agreed between the UK and China.
The Medical Research Council (MRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) are to work together to promote “internationally competitive and innovative collaborative projects” to address the problems associated with AMR, with a major launch meeting due to be held in Shanghai next month.
“AMR is a major threat to millions of lives around the world,” said UK life sciences minister, George Freeman, adding that the £9m joint investment will help leading scientists in the UK and China to “share expertise and innovations to develop new treatments that could help eradicate this threat to global public health”.
Claiming that drug resistant infections will kill “an extra 10 million people a year worldwide” in the future, the joint research partners warned that, unless action is taken, as many as 1 million people a year could die because of AMR in China alone by 2050.
“The increasing threat posed by AMR is an international issue that requires much deeper understanding, which will only be achieved through an interdisciplinary approach,” said NSFC’s Professor Lu Rongkai. “As such, this is a key area to be supported by NSFC’s collaboration with the UK research councils. It is essential that China and the UK work together to tackle this complex, global challenge.”
A workshop, led by the funding agencies, is planned for November 24-26 in Shanghai, to “further understanding of the antibacterial resistance research landscape within the two countries and to explore the core themes that will provide the backdrop of the fund”.