A project that is designed to track the worldwide impact of superbugs has seen an investment to the tune of £2.4 million ($3.2 million) from the global charitable foundation Wellcome which was announced very recently.
Launched at the Call to Action conference in Berlin, Germany, the project is titled Global Burden of Disease AMR (antimicrobial resistance) project. The project is designed to provide vital information on both the spread and impact of drug resistance, said Tim Jinks, Wellcome’s head of drug resistant infections.
“While we have seen progress in recognition around the world of the threat that superbugs pose, we need to regain momentum,” Jinks said. “High-level commitments must quickly become action.”
Infections that cannot be contained or cured due to drug resistant already kill 700,000 people each year and hence the problem of drug resistance is a serious one, said Wellcome. The World Health Organization has identified this as the most potent epidemic that could hit the world in the 21st century.
If action was not taken immediately, the world was facing a “dreadful post-antibiotic apocalypse”, England’s chief medical officer, Sally Davies, had recently told the Press Association and the launch comes after such a comment from Davies.
She reiterated her concerns during an interview with the BBC late last week. “The problem is that bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, particularly if they are overused, and yet they underpin modern medicine,” she said. Drug resistant infections cause death of every year of about 25,000 people across Europe, explained Davies.
“I’m really worried, as are experts, that if we don’t do things to control this — improve infection prevention, get new drugs, better diagnostics — we will risk losing antibiotics,” she said.
In partnership with the governments of the U.K., Thailand and Ghana, as well as the United Nations Foundation, the Berlin conference was organized by Wellcome.
the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute collaborated on the AMR project. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and the U.K. Government were the co-funders of the project.
“There is no doubt that together we can stop the superbugs which could undermine the whole of modern medicine,” Jeremy Farrar, Wellcome’s director, said in a statement Friday. “But the impact is now and the time to act is now, we need to bring real urgency to this.”
(Adapted from CNBC)