Researchers kick off observational study for antimicrobial resistance

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Study aims to guide development of new treatments and reverse global increase in deaths of newborns

GARDP collaborates with public and private partners to tackle unaddressed public health gaps, notably for drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Over 80 researchers from 11 countries met today to understand sepsis in newborns and current antibiotic prescribing practices. This is part of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership’s (GARDP) broader programme to develop new and improved antibiotic treatments for newborns. GARDP established in 2016, is a joint initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

While significant progress has been made in recent years to improve child health globally, including a 50 percent reduction in child mortality since 1990, the number of preventable deaths in newborns remains unacceptably high. Neonatal deaths now represent 44 percent of all deaths in children under the age of five. Of great concern, is the estimated 214,000 deaths in newborns attributable to drug-resistant infections.

GARDP’s observational study is responding to this global concern. The data generated from the study will inform GARPD’s ambition to develop and deliver new antibiotic treatments for newborns with drug-resistant bacterial infections. Limited research on newborns has resulted in a lack of evidence about appropriate treatment of serious and drug-resistant infections in this vulnerable population.

Speaking on the occasion Anupriya Patel, MoS Health and Family Welfare said, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threat to global health, food security, and development today. It is a major and rapidly growing public health problem globally, with estimates of up to 700,000 deaths per year. AMR is threatening to compromise the gains we made as a country to control the infectious diseases like malaria, and tuberculosis.”

The Government of India is well aware of the impending AMR crisis and strongly committed to tackling it. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has identified AMR as one of the top 10 priorities for the ministry’s collaborative work with WHO.

Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog highlighted on the need to have a Anti microbial Stewardship program (AMSP) on a mass scale, carve out funds across all areas for research to tackle AMR and urged ICMR to create wider reach and visibility for its surveillance data to inform communities and prescribers.

Balram Bhargav, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR highlighted the importance of a joint role of all the stake holders to reduce infant mortality rate and Anti microbial resistance.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Manica Balasegaram, Director, GARDP said,“ Antibacterial resistance is one of the main barriers to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal to reduce neonatal mortality and he presented to audience the GARDP strategy to address neonatal sepsis and other programs. GARDP and ICMR together committed to investing a million euros in next two years.”

Other attendees at the event such as Professor Randeep Guleria, Director, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, representatives from WHO, India, Dr S Eswara Reddy, Drugs Controller General of India, Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology and Dr Chander Shekhar, Additional Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research also emphasised for multistakeholder engagement to address this multifaceted public health challenge.