The Chief Reporter, Mike Laycock, of York’s The Press wrote a great article (read here) outlining the first research programme Antibiotic Research UK wishes to undertake. Here is the text of the article – A YORK-BASED national UK charity has revealed its first research proposal as it prepares to tackle the ‘global health catastrophe’ of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic Research UK has unveiled its first research programme and is hoping to raise £100,000 for a UK-based research project to find existing drugs from any disease area which can help break such resistance. Its chief executive, Professor Colin Garner, who is honorary professor of pharmacology at the Hull York Medical School, University of York, says the charity’s long term aim is still to create a new antibiotic. However, that could take up to 15 to 20 years, with lengthy clinical trials and no guarantee of success, and it could be too late to prevent a health disaster. He said it was estimated that within eight to 15 years, ‘thousands and thousands’ could begin dying in UK because of antibiotic resistance, with surgery becoming too dangerous to contemplate, and the charity’s chairman, Ashley Burgess, warned: “People need to be very frightened.” Prof Garner said 50,000 people a year were already dying from antibiotic resistant infections in the USA and Europe and there were as many as 700,000 deaths worldwide. “The Prime Minister has talked about medicine going back to the dark ages and Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, has said that the antibiotic resistance threat is as great as the terrorist threat,” he said. Dame Sally also said in a recent BBC Panorama programme that we will be betraying our grandchildren if we fail to tackle this problem now. “Bacteria are fast becoming resistant to antibiotics and there has been a dearth of new antibiotics discovered during the past 30 years. A major reason for the lack of new antibiotics stems from the closing down of antibiotic research programmes by the large pharmaceutical companies who are unable to make a financial return on antibiotic drugs. “The charity was formed in the middle of last year by a group of scientists and clinicians expert in antibiotic resistance, who saw the creation of a new charity as a means of tackling the problem. “As a charity, we can undertake research which would be of no interest to pharma companies.” He said it would be applying to trusts and funds for grants, and had also been in talks with York and North Yorkshire MPs about how the UK Government could provide financial support. It would also welcome donations from the public, for example from the families of people who had died because of antibiotic resistance. While the charity is based at York Science Park, near the University of York, it will invite leading scientists and clinicians at universities and pharmaceutical companies across the UK to bid for the research contract.
Meanwhile, the charity is to hold its second annual meeting at noon on Wednesday August 19 at the Royal York Hotel, with members of the public welcome to attend.