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UK and Indian research expertise to strengthen global AMR fight


Ministers signing the agreementA new £13m UK-India research programme will strengthen the global fight against Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR).

The UK and Indian science ministers announced the investment during the UK-India Tech Summit in New Delhi where today (9 November) they also opened the inaugural meeting of the Research Councils UK-India Strategic Group on AMR.

The multi-disciplinary programme, announced by UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson MP and Indian Union Minister for Science Harsh Vardhan, is supported by The Newton Bhabha Fund and increases support for the two nations to collaborate on AMR research.

The Research Councils UK-India Strategic Group on AMR will discuss priority areas for RCUK-India AMR research.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chair of Research Councils UK said: “Anti-microbial resistance is a global issue that will affect all of us.  It is an issue which touches on human, livestock and crop health. Meeting this global challenge demands a shared determination, combined research expertise and the commitment of a broad range of disciplines. Together, the UK and India are playing leading roles in this fight and today is a significant step forward.”

Professor K VijayRaghavan, Secretary of the Indian Department of Biotechnology said: “This is a global issue and requires enormous international collaboration. In India and the UK, we have extensive capability and we are mobilising that to meet this challenge. Working together, across all disciplines and with all agencies, we can better understand the nature and scope of the issue and move towards solutions.”

The growing resistance of micro-organisms to antimicrobials such as antibiotics is a significant global public and animal health issue.  In addition, it has consequences for the environment, and broader economic and social implications. Urgent action is needed to halt the development of resistance and to develop and target new treatments for bacterial infection. In addition, we need to protect the current available antibiotics through appropriate use.

The programme will support research in understanding microbial resistance both human and animals, accelerating the development of new drugs and diagnostics, understanding the interactions of resistant bacteria with the environment and understanding the economic and behavioural issues associated with AMR.

The RCUK–India Strategic Group on AMR comprises representatives of Research Councils UK and individual Research Councils, the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology, the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Indian Council of Social Science Research, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Public Health of Foundation of India.

In 2014, all seven UK Research Councils came together to develop the cross-council initiative on AMR to highlight the multidisciplinary nature and strategic importance of this challenge. The Councils have been working successfully with India since 2015, as part of the India-UK collaboration in AMR, and with DBT have established joint virtual centres of research in AMR.

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