The UK government has awarded the University of Birmingham-hosted Bacterial Vaccines Network (BactiVac) £1.4 million in funding to accelerate the development of bacterial vaccines to prevent infections from occurring as part of the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Bacterial vaccines play a critical role in the fight against AMR, preventing infections from developing and reducing the need to use antimicrobials.
The Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) funding programme sits within the Department of Health and Social Care. It is a UK aid fund that supports research and development worldwide to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals and the environment to benefit people in low-middle-income countries (LMICs).
This latest funding follows GAMRIF’s initial £1.4 million award in 2019. Both funding awards are part of the UK’s 20-year vision and five-year (2019–2024) AMR national action plan.
The second phase of GAMRIF funding will enable BactiVac to continue diversifying the current pipeline of vaccine development projects and increase collaborations between researchers from LMICs and the UK. It will also support additional Network activities primarily aimed at enabling the equity of access for LMIC members. These activities will continue to promote collaboration across the membership, particularly for members based in LMICs.
Professor Calman MacLennan, director of BactiVac, commented: “We are extremely grateful to be partnering with GAMRIF. There is a clear synergy between our organisations, and the support provided by GAMRIF is vital for delivering BactiVac’s objective of advancing vaccines against bacterial pathogens and AMR.”
Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK’s first Special Envoy on AMR since 2019, commented: “I am delighted that GAMRIF continues to support the ongoing work of BactiVac. By advancing bacterial vaccines, the Network plays a key role in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance.”
In January 2022, the Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance paper was published in the “Lancet”. Based on estimates across 204 countries and territories, the paper provides the most comprehensive estimates of the global impact of AMR to date.
The research reveals that AMR has now become a leading cause of death globally, with an estimated 1.3 million deaths attributable to bacterial AMR and 5 million deaths associated with bacterial AMR in 2019.
Professor Adam Cunningham, co-director of BactiVac and professor of Functional Immunity, commented: “GAMRIF supports strategies to tackle AMR and bacterial vaccines play a key role in this by preventing bacterial diseases from developing, removing the need to use antimicrobials and reduce opportunities for AMR to develop. This is a key reason why the partnership between GAMRIF and BactiVac is so important for controlling AMR.”
BactiVac delivers a large portfolio of catalyst projects by bringing together academic and industry partners from the UK, other high-income countries and LMICs. The Network has a “One Health” approach, delivering activities that target bacterial diseases in humans and animals that can lead to the emergence and spread of AMR and pose a significant threat to human and animal health.