The UK-India Strategic Group on antimicrobial resistance research held their second meeting here this week to discuss mutual priorities to tackle AMR, an increasingly serious global health threat, a partnering agency said today.
The UK-India collaboration in the field of AMR was launched last November by UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson and then minister for science and technology Harsh Vardhan, Research Councils UK (RCUK) India said.
"During the meeting, the strategic group also assessed the progress made in the partnership since its launch," it said.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial agent (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
"The UK-India AMR collaboration is led by the UK Research Councils and India's Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
"The RCUK and the DBT are nodal agencies coordinating this initiative with other research funding partners in India like the Department of Science and Technology, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Indian Council of Medical Research, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change," RCUK India said in a statement.
The first meeting of the group was held in November 2016. Since then it has successfully commissioned a mapping report on AMR research in India, which was released by Johnson and Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Y S Chowdary in New Delhi last week.
"Both ministers welcomed the joint report and the RCUK - DBT partnership addressing AMR. The report identifies gaps in our understanding, especially in countries with high disease burdens, and highlights that we can use multi-disciplinary research to fill key areas of potential action including the environment, industrial waste, farming, and how people use and understand valuable antibiotic drugs," the statement said.
"AMR research experts from the UK and India also participated in a UK-India sandpit-style workshop this week to develop outline proposals for research. The workshop, organised by the RCUK and the DBT from November 7 to 10 in Delhi-NCR, will serve as a platform to build interdisciplinary research teams and joint outline proposals for research into various aspects of AMR," it said.
Up to GBP 13 million joint funding, under the Newton Bhabha Fund, will be utilised on projects funded as a result of this workshop, the statement added.
"The challenge AMR poses is enormous from India's perspective because it revolves not only around the use of antibiotics, but also around enforcement, industrial waste and use of antibiotics in the livestock industry, all of which, in turn, affects the food chain and public water supply, thereby causing major health risks.
"Our research efforts are addressing the detection, diagnosis and prevalence of AMR. Our international partnerships are crucial to help scale up these efforts," K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary DBT, was quoted as saying in the statement.
Stuart Taberner, Director of International and Interdisciplinary Research, RCUK, said global challenges such as AMR can be addressed by strong, collaborative research partnerships, such as the one the UK-India are demonstrating through various initiatives in AMR.
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