Up to £32m of funding will be awarded to the NHS, universities and research organisations for research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.
The government says the money will support capital investment into buildings and equipment, with the aim of fostering innovative approaches to tackling AMR.
The funding will be managed by the National Institute for Health Research and will be awarded for a two-year period starting on 1 April 2019, with applications for funding open until 6 December 2018.
Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: “Funding new and innovative approaches to tackle AMR is crucial, and this substantial capital funding will be a significant step towards strengthening UK-based AMR initiatives.”
News of the funding announcement followed a meeting of world leaders on 4 October 2018 who gathered in Argentina to simulate a fictional drug-resistant Escherichia Coli pandemic.
The governments of the UK and Argentina led the international exercise to test G20 world leaders on how they would address the spread of an infection that is resistant to antibiotics.
The simulation tested their potential ability to act quickly if antibiotic-resistant bugs cross borders and lead to a pandemic affecting global public health, placing pressure on health systems and the economies of the fictional countries involved.
Steve Brine, public health and pharmacy minister, attended the simulation event, which he said provided “an unprecedented level of exposure to the issue of drug-resistant infections and how countries across the globe would be able to cope and work together to fight an outbreak”.
“It was a valuable opportunity for world leaders to get a deeper level of understanding of the challenges and actions required if antibiotic-resistant bugs spread between countries.”