Funding of £85 million will be announced at a global event to support the international community in tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

  • UK announces up to £50 million to support countries and institutions in Africa in accessing essential antimicrobial drugs
  • Additionally, up to £25 million which includes support to Caribbean countries and territories in strengthening surveillance systems for AMR, to identify and tackle outbreaks before they develop. And a further £10 million to help establish an international scientific panel to coordinate global action
  • Funding announced today at a global meeting, bringing world leaders and experts together to tackle the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance

A package of up to £85 million to support the international community in tackling the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, a global issue that makes infections difficult or impossible to treat, will be announced today by the UK government.

World leaders and experts, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the World Bank will attend a global event hosted by the Royal Society to agree priority actions to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and hear accounts from AMR survivors. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will also be in attendance at the event taking place today (Thursday 16 May 2024).

The UK government will announce the following initiatives:

  • up to £50 million to partner with countries in Africa for improving access to essential antimicrobial drugs. It builds on ongoing work by the UK Global AMR Innovation Fund. This will be done in partnerships with low and middle income countries (LMICs) and build on local expertise
  • up to £25 million which will include partnering with countries and territories in the Caribbean to strengthen surveillance systems for AMR to enable accurate monitoring of threats, through regional partners such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organisation. Building on the UK’s existing investment in the Fleming Centre in London, this new funding will also allow the government to explore how it might support the delivery of AMR centres globally in alignment with the Fleming Initiative
  • up to £10 million over the next 5 years to help establish a global independent scientific panel for AMR, modelled on the success of other international panels such as the world renowned Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • in addition to these new programmes, £1.8 million has already been allocated to create a dedicated team in the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) to support creating novel antimicrobials and diagnostics. The team will enable the UK to develop an in-depth knowledge of new technologies and build a joint understanding of antimicrobial resistance across global regulators, particularly in LMICs

These new projects build on ongoing international and domestic work to prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance. This includes the recently announced national action plan and a partnership with countries across Asia and Africa to tackle AMR and reduce the threat posed to the UK, through the Fleming Fund backed by £210 million.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said:

“Antimicrobial resistance could render our most vital medicines useless – it is a threat the world must take extremely seriously.

“This package of up to £85 million builds on the world-leading work the UK government is already doing to support low and middle income countries to monitor, research and tackle this disease.”

In 2019, 4.95 million global deaths were associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections. By 2050 this is set to rise to 10 million, and the global economic cost of this is calculated to be $100 trillion.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, if we fail to take sufficient action, the costs associated with treating resistant infections could compare to having a COVID pandemic every 5 years.

The event – The World Together Solving the Antibiotic Emergency – is being organised by the government in partnership with the Royal Society.

It will celebrate the successes of global action to tackle AMR and look ahead to commitments for what more the world can do collaboratively in the fight against AMR, looking ahead to the important milestone of the United Nations high-level meeting on AMR in September.

The Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, said:

“Today antimicrobial resistance is a global emergency posing a vast threat to our health, our development and our security.

“Global deaths from AMR are already at nearly 5 million a year. That includes more than a quarter of a million children in developing countries, half in the first month of their lives.

“We must do more to tackle this threat and do it together, because it is too big to tackle without united global action.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, said:

“Following my time as health secretary, I was deeply concerned about the threat of antimicrobial resistance – not just to the UK but to the world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic was conclusive proof that health emergencies don’t respect borders.

“That’s why I’m proud that the UK continues to play a pivotal role in bringing countries together to tackle emerging global health threats, and this significant funding package shows our commitment to stamping out antimicrobial resistance.”

UK Special Envoy on AMR, Dame Sally Davies, said:

“The global antibiotic emergency is an existential threat to communities everywhere.

“As the UK Special Envoy on antimicrobial resistance, I am honoured to host today’s event alongside the UK government and the Royal Society. This event represents a pivotal milestone for the world to move forward together and play a part in safeguarding our antibiotics for generations to come.

“I call on everyone to join us to make equity, One Health and action the cornerstone of our next steps to tackle AMR.”

Dr Colin Brown, Deputy Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

“Antimicrobial resistance is a threat to all of us. Simple lifesaving interventions in the form of antimicrobials are in danger of becoming ineffective.

“Tackling this issue is a priority for UKHSA but long-term success requires global action. For antimicrobials to remain available and work effectively for everyone, we need international surveillance to identify new areas of AMR and collaboration. We also need to ensure expertise is being shared to help uncover new approaches to therapies and diagnostics for treating drug-resistant diseases. That’s why working with international experts, networks and industry partners is a core part of the work we do to manage AMR in the UK and abroad.”