University leads pioneering research to find solutions to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance

15 November 2018

While this week marks World Antibiotic Awareness Week, experts at the University of Birmingham are carrying out pioneering research to find real world solutions to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Each November, the World Health Organization (WHO) holds World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW), running this year from November 12th to 18th, to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

The face of the University’s ‘Old Joe’ clock tower will be lit blue to mark the awareness week, backing WHO’s aim to increase global awareness that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious threat. If not addressed, by 2050 it could kill millions of people.

Laura Piddock, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection and also Head of Scientific Affairs at Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, said: “Since their discovery, antibiotics have served as the cornerstone of modern medicine.

“However, the use of antibiotics in human and animal health, as well as contamination of the environment by these drugs, has encouraged the emergence of drug-resistance and helped to drive the spread of AMR.

“WHO has identified the need to address the threat posed by drug-resistant bacterial infections as a global public health priority; however, the current pipeline for new treatments is inadequate for the size of the task.

“New approaches are urgently needed, spanning research and development through to access and stewardship, to ensure both old and new antibiotics remain available.

“The University of Birmingham is leading the way in carrying out vital new research to tackle this global threat.”

Find out about current research being carried out by scientists at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection here.