India, UK to take up £8 mn research to tackle anti-microbial resistance

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New Delhi (NVI): India and the UK have decided to deepen their existing scientific research collaboration with five new projects to tackle anti-microbial resistance (AMR) that could lead to important advances in the global fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes.

The new research would cost around eight million pounds (over 77 crore rupees), the British High Commission said in a statement.

The five projects are planned for September this year, after getting approval. For funding the research, the UK is contributing £4 million from the UK Research and Innovation Fund for International Collaboration, and India is matching this with its own resources (£8m in total), the BHC said.

India is a major producer of antimicrobials in the pharmaceutical industry global supply chain, and the research projects aim to develop a better understanding of how waste from antimicrobial manufacturing could be inadvertently fuelling AMR, according to the British High Commission.

The funding awards were announced by Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, who is on a virtual visit to India today.

On the occasion, Tariq Ahmad said: “The UK has already partnered with India’s Serum Institute to manufacture the vaccine for Covid-19, if clinical trials are successful, with plans to distribute to a billion people across the developing world. But there is more we can do together to tackle urgent global health issues in the world. Our thriving research and innovation partnerships will benefit people in the UK and India, and beyond.”

Philip Barton, High Commissioner to India, said: “The UK is India’s second-biggest research partner, with joint research expected to be worth £400 million by next year. This huge investment enables us to work closely together on global health challenges such as the search for a Covid-19 vaccine. Today’s announcement is another demonstration of our excellent research relationship and will strengthen the important fight against anti-microbial resistance.”

During the visit to India, Tariq Ahmad will chair a virtual roundtable with senior Indian and UK-based stakeholders on cold-chain technologies that are critical for the effective transport of vaccines, ensuring they successfully reach their final destination, the BHC said in a statement.

Other elements of the UK Minister’s visit include meeting with Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, V Muraleedharan, to discuss a number of subjects including multilateral cooperation, a meeting with Gujarati Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, discussions with regional governments and others on opportunities in wind power and a virtual tour of a UK funded solar plant in Rajasthan, the BHC statement said.