Government’s progress in preventing drug resistant infections

The UK continues to work towards preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by investing in new diagnosis tests and vaccines. Lord O’Neill’s review, ‘Tackling drug-resistant infections globally’ made 10 recommendations on how to best prevent the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The recommendations include raising awareness of AMR globally, reducing the use of antibiotics in animals and improving hygiene to help stop the spread of infection.

The UK government response accepts these recommendations as part of its ongoing AMR strategy. The government also published its second annual progress report on the UK’s 5 year AMR strategy.

Lord O’Neil’s report also highlights the consequences if we do not act to prevent the growing crisis – predicting 10 million deaths a year by 2050, an effect on the world economy of $100 trillion, and the potential end of modern medicine as we know it.

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies said:Action on antimicrobial infections must be taken internationally. Jim O’Neill’s review has made challenging recommendations for the world and I’m delighted that the UK is helping to lead the fight on this. No country can afford to be complacent about the catastrophic risk we are facing. If drugs like antibiotics no longer fight infections, 10 million lives could be lost globally every year by 2050”.

The UK is already leading on a range of measures aimed at preventing AMR across the globe. These include:

  • investing £265 million to strengthen the surveillance of antimicrobial use and resistance, which is already helping 11 countries worldwide and will be expanding in 2017
  • using a £50 million investment to start a global AMR innovation fund to develop new antimicrobials along with diagnostic tools and vaccines
  • investing in the development of quick diagnosis tests, making sure people are given the right drugs for the right infection at the right time, the new tests, once proven to be effective, will available in both the UK and internationally
  • almost halving the British meat poultry industry’s use of antibiotics between 2012 and 2015 through improvements in training, stewardship, and disease control

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:Antimicrobial resistance is a critical global challenge and our commitment to reduce antibiotic use in livestock, in line with Lord O’Neill’s recommendations, is an important part of the government’s One Health strategy to tackle it.

We are already making good progress in monitoring and reducing the use of antibiotics across the farming industry – today’s commitments mean we will remain at the forefront of the global effort to tackle this international challenge”.

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