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APPG for Life Sciences meets to discuss AMR

By December 1, 2023No Comments

The APPG for Life Sciences, of which BIVDA is a member of the secretariat, held a meeting on ‘UK Leadership in Antimicrobial Resistance’ this week. The event was attended by two ex-health ministers, Maggie Throup and Will Quince, as well as current Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, Chi Onwurah. Members of industry, NHSE and the Foreign Office were also present.

All present were heavily invested in antimicrobial resistance, understanding the critical threat that it poses for the future of global health. Described as the ‘end of modern medicine as we know it’, the group warned that we are already too far behind globally and must act quickly to mitigate the impact of AMR, despite the UK’s admirable progress.

A global pull incentive must be developed and, alongside strengthening our own efforts, the UK must aid other countries in the development of their AMR strategies. It was noted that global surveillance of AMR is extremely poor and must be improved as a priority – we need to better understand the threat so that we are not taken by surprise in future.

Ex-health minister Will Quince concurred, admitting that he was struck by the global ignorance around AMR from his work representing UK health abroad. We must try to change global behaviour on antimicrobial stewardship to prevent the stockpiling and misuse of antibiotics.

There was universal agreement among the attendees with Mr Quince’s assertion that public awareness, both in the UK and abroad, is a crucial prong in fighting AMR. Despite AMR’s wide-reaching, severe consequences, most of the population are still unaware of AMR and therefore more must be done to improve education to change behaviour. It was suggested that public awareness be made a key component of the new AMR plan in 2024.

Diagnostics played a key role in discussions. There was recognition that while there are pathway obstructions, once these were resolved innovations could be inserted into the process. NHSE acknowledged their desire to work with industry to best understand how to do this. On CRP testing, one attendee declared introducing it widely into the NHS as a ‘no-brainer’.

The parliamentarians in the room enthusiastically agreed that another Parliamentary debate on the subject was needed. BIVDA supports this and will work with parliamentarians and secretariat partners to realise this. We would lastly like to thank Maggie Throup for stepping in to chair the meeting at the last minute.