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Launch of multi-national response to threat of antibiotic misuse
Antibiotics have long been a mainstay of treatment for potentially deadly bacterial infections. However, long-term over-prescription and misuse of antibiotics and other anti-microbial drugs has resulted in the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. Multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae, third-generation cephalosporin-resistant (G3CR) Enterobacteriaceae and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus are now a serious international public health threat. These bacteria used to arise almost exclusively in healthcare settings but since the 1990s they have been increasingly emerging in community settings. They are spreading globally at ever-increasing rates as mobility of people increases.

In response to the international nature of this threat, a joint programme initiative, namely the Joint Programme on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR), aims to gather research funders from different countries concerned with antimicrobial resistance under one umbrella. This programme includes several countries, including nineteen European countries, Canada and Israel, as well as having support from other countries ranging from Australia to South Africa. The JPIAMR launched its strategic research agenda today, 3rd April, in Brussels.

The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) covers six priority topics that aim to introduce a multi-dimensional approach to the issue of antibiotic resistance. The topics come under the headings of therapeutics, diagnostics, surveillance, transmission, environment and interventions. The ultimate goal is to translate these topics into new unified prevention and intervention strategies that cross borders to improve public health of populations and deliver economic and societal benefits throughout Europe and beyond. The idea is to reduce the fragmentation of effort that arises when individual national initiatives are not unified.

The programme emphasises the necessity of unifying the efforts of all concerned groups, from the scientific community to research funders and from policy makers and societal stakeholders to industry and SMEs. This should provide a firm foundation for a coherent approach to reduction in inappropriate antibiotic use and increasing sustainability of antibiotics. The next stage for the programme is to use funding from the European Commission, the International Medicines Initiative (IMI), national funding contributions and public-private partnerships, to fund research within these six priority areas.
Dr Mats Ulfendahl of the Swedish Research Council explained: "As this is an active research field and AMR (anti-microbial resistance) is a very real and present societal challenge, the strategic research agenda will need to stay a living document that is continuously updated to keep pace with developments within research and society.” Further information is available on the programme website at and the SRA can be viewed at


Press release: Swedish Research Council; available at [Accessed 3 April 2014].
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Launch of multi-national response to threat of antibiotic misuse00