US, UK pledge to combat antibiotic resistance through new alliance
- U.S. and U.K. health officials on Thursday launched a new alliance aimed at combating antibiotic resistance by developing new treatments, diagnostics and best practices. Called Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (or Carb-X), the group will include government agencies, academics experts and key industry leaders.
- The Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research Authority (BARDA) will participate in the alliance for the U.S., while the Wellcome Trust and AMR Centre are spearheading the effort for the U.K. Kevin Outterson, a leading health law researcher worldwide, will lead the Carb-X executive team and serve as the alliance's principal investigator.
- BARDA plans to provide $30 million upfront during the first year, with up to $250 million contributed over five years. The AMR Centre will provide $14 million up front, and up to $100 million overall.
The Carb-X alliance follows President Barack Obama's 2015 Combating Antibiotic-Bacteria initiative and a recently released U.K.-commissioned report urging concerted international action to combat antimicrobial resistance.
According to the report, there are 50,000 deaths in the U.S. and Europe each year caused by multi-drug resistant infections. On a global scale, 700,000 people die each year because their bacterial infections cannot be treated effectively with standard first-, second- or even third-line treatments. The three most commonly resistant bacterial infections are Klebsiella pneumoniae, E. coli and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
In addition, the report claimed that without effective intervention, there would be 10 million deaths each year by 2050 due to antibiotic-resistant infections. The goal of Carb-X is to bring down that trajectory and control scourge of multi-drug resistant infections.
“Increasingly, it is becoming clear that partnerships of global reach and efficiency are needed to address complex problems like antimicrobial resistance," said Dr. Richard Hatchett, acting BARDA director. "The establishment of CARB-X is a watershed moment; governments, academia, science accelerators, industry, and nongovernment organizations have come together to operate under a common strategic framework to tackle a monumental public health threat of our time.”
BARDA, the AMC Centre and the Wellcome Trust are joined in this collaboration by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), as well as the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the California Life Sciences Institute, Boston University School of Law, MassBio, The Broad Institute and RTI International.