The UK will invest £18m as part of the effort to tackle global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research, the Government has announced.

A £6.2m contribution will be used to strengthen existing surveillance of AMR trends across Africa and Asia. While £12m will be used to fund collaborative research between the UK and countries across both continents.

The announcement comes as England’s chief medical officer and special envoy on antimicrobial resistance, Professor Dame Sally Davies, attended a UN General Assembly meeting on universal health coverage in New York.

The UN estimates AMR causes 700,000 deaths across the world each year, which is expected to touch 10 million by 2050.

Global action needed

Professor Davies said: ‘Achieving our common goal of universal health coverage will require global action on a multitude of fronts, including tackling the escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance and investing in research.

‘I am delighted to announce this funding, which will catalyse regional collaboration to help strengthen AMR surveillance systems across Africa and Asia and support the next generation of health policy and systems research.’

The £6.2m is from the Fleming Fund, the Department of Health and Social Care's aid programme, and will be divided into three grants, worth £0.5m, £3.08m and £2.7m. The first will go to the African Society for Laboratory Medicine to improve quality assurance of lab testing in Africa. The second will go to cross-border initiative, Ending Pandemics, to standardise the collection and analysis of data. The third will go to the International Vaccine Institute, to improve data sharing for global AMR planning and advocacy.

The remaining £12m comes from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).