Infex Therapeutics, the Alderley Park based drug discovery firm, is hailing the launch of a landmark index that represents a first-of-its-kind evaluation of how the governments of the 11 largest global economies are living up to their commitments to address growing crisis around antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Peter Jackson, executive director of Infex Therapeutics, contributed to the development of The AMR Preparedness Index, which was launched in New York on June 23.
It comes amid renewed recognition of the threat posed by the ‘silent pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance at the highest levels of government, most recently at the G7 Summit in Cornwall. The Index acknowledges UK and United States leadership on the issue but identifies a broad failure to match public promises with the concrete actions needed to avert the growing crisis.
An estimated 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections and the lack of novel antibiotics to treat them. With rising resistance to our existing drugs, routine medical care – ranging from outpatient chemotherapy for cancer, to a knee replacement to even a root canal – increasingly places us at risk of a debilitating or life-threatening infection. If unaddressed, the continued rise of AMR is expected to lead to as many as 10 million deaths per year, disability and lower quality of life for millions more, and $100 trillion in lost GDP by 2050.
The Index was developed by a coalition of leading scientists brought together by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). It has assessed Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the United States. It also offers case studies from Australia, Kenya, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.
It is designed to support evidence-based decision making and help prevent AMR having its predicted – and devastating – impact on global public health. The Index assesses countries across seven categories identified by experts as critical to successfully addressing AMR, highlighting best practices, identifying priority areas for government action, and offering a framework for countries and stakeholders to hold themselves accountable and benchmark progress on AMR.
The Index assigns scores to each of the 11 countries across seven categories as guidance for needed and achievable policy action. The analysis includes key findings and highlights critical actions that governments should immediately prioritize to fulfil their commitments on AMR. Drug resistance is borderless, and all countries must lead with concerted action within their borders to slow the growth of resistance in their hospitals and waterways, and to foster the ability for innovations to reach patients in need.
Peter Jackson, of Infex Therapeutics, said: “It’s an important piece of work and confirms the UK is a leader, tackling this enormous health challenge. For all that, the UK only scores 54/100 for innovation in the Index. The finding show we need to significantly increase strategic investment the research infrastructure necessary to support the development of AMR diagnostics, surveillance technologies, and new antimicrobials.
“Covid-19 has shown us it’s about actions and not just words and nobody should be in any doubt that the impact of the AMR crisis will be very severe and touch every aspect of society. We’ve collectively shown great leadership on AMR from the UK diplomatically, politically and on reimbursement. This report highlights that infrastructure investment, including supporting companies, capacity and consortia, is still lagging behind what’s needed. The building blocks for a global impact on AMR preparedness are here in the North West but we need significant new capacity investment from the UK government.”
Infex Therapeutics currently has two AMR programs entering clinical trials in the coming months and is driving innovation on AMR therapeutics.
The company is also a founding member of iiCON, the infectious disease consortium led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, supported by the Strength in Places Fund from UKRI that is collectively building the platform for sustained investment in the wider AMR Preparedness agenda.
The insights provided by the 2021 AMR Preparedness Index were the result of over one thousand hours of data collection and evaluation of existing research gathered from global authorities, including the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP); the Global AMR R&D Hub; and the WHO, as well as reports from national governments, nonprofits, and academia. The findings were then supplemented and validated by interviews and surveys with global key opinion leaders and subject matter experts (including scientists, advocates, researchers, clinicians, business leaders, and policymakers).