United States, United Kingdom join forces to fight war on superbugs

  • 29/07/2016

Health officials in Britain and the United States are joining forces with a multimillion dollar budget to take the war on superbugs a big step forward.

The US-UK group aims to accelerate the development of new antibiotics and tackle the growing problem of drug resistance.

Known as Carb-X, (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), it brings together government, academia and industry to speed up work on new treatments and diagnostics.

The US Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday it would provide US$30 million in the first year and up to US$250 million during the five-year project.

Britain's AMR Centre, a public-private initiative, will contribute US$14 million initially and up to US$100 million over five years, while the London-based Wellcome Trust will supply further unspecified funding.

The creation of Carb-X grew out of US President Barack Obama's 2015 Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria initiative and follows a global review of antibiotic resistance by former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill for the UK government.

O'Neill's final report in May concluded that concerted international action was needed to increase the supply of new antibiotics and reduce unnecessary use of existing ones.

"Drug-resistant infections are already costing lives all over the world," said Wellcome Director Jeremy Farrar. "A problem of this scale can only be tackled through coordinated international effort to curb our massive overuse of existing antibiotics, and to accelerate the development of new ones."

Carb-X will be headquartered at the Boston University School of Law and led by Kevin Outterson, a leading health law researcher.