The Department of Health will invest £15.8 million in research to find alternatives to antibiotics in light of antimicrobial resistance, chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies announced today.
She said that research projects such as the 16 studies this money will fund are “essential if we are to save modern medicine as we know it”.
Davies added: “Finding alternatives to antibiotics is essential if we are to reduce our reliance on these drugs. The overuse of antibiotics has crept up on all of us, and the rise of antibiotic resistant bugs means that routine operations could become impossible.”
Similarly, earlier this year the World Health Organization said antibiotic resistance is present in all parts of the world and “is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.”
The funding will be distributed by the National Institute for Health Research to 16 studies across the UK, all aimed at finding alternatives to antibiotics for common infections, improving prescribing rates and furthering essential research.
Chris Harding, consultant urological surgeon at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is chief investigator of a four year study at Newcastle University, to see if effective alternatives to antibiotics can be found for women who regularly suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs).
He said it is “vital” that we find alternatives to antibiotic treatments, and “this study is trying to help solve an important problem with our current overuse of antibiotics which is causing more and more resistant bacteria.”