South African Medical Research Council funds efforts to deliver new antibiotics for drug-resistant infections

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) announced in April that it will spend 4 million Rand towards furthering the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) in South Africa.

This funding will contribute to the global development and delivery of affordable new or improved antibiotic treatments for drug-resistant bacterial infections where there are currently no adequate treatments, beginning with neonatal sepsis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

GARDP focuses its research and development efforts towards meeting priority infectious diseases that threaten public health. SAMRC’s funding will be directed towards supporting clinical studies in neonatal sepsis and STIs across several research sites in South Africa.

‘We are grateful for South African Medical Research Council’s continued support in our efforts to boost the development of new antibiotics. Our work is global in focus and therefore reflects the needs of developing countries,’ said Dr Manica Balasegaram, Director of GARDP. ‘This funding will contribute to our ambition to develop two new treatments for neonatal sepsis, as well as register a new treatment for gonorrhoea in a number of countries, including South Africa.’

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global concern and an important public health priority for South Africa. Neonatal sepsis accounts for some 214,000 deaths per year globally, and the incidence of drug-resistant STIs such as gonorrhoea is also on the increase.

‘We are pleased to collaborate with GARDP in its efforts to develop new antibiotic treatments. AMR is a global concern and an important public health issue in South Africa,’ said Professor Glenda Gray, President of SAMRC. ‘GARDP’s projects on neonatal sepsis and STIs will go a long way in identifying challenges and priorities, raising awareness and informing interventions in the fight against AMR.’

‘Collaborations such as these are important if we are to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Neonatal sepsis is of growing concern in South Africa, and it is now a major barrier to achieving the sustainable development goal to reduce neonatal mortality,’ said Carol Ruffell, head of the joint office of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and GARDP in South Africa. ‘Similarly, while the impact of gonorrhoea is truly global, Africa and Western Pacific regions have the highest incidence levels of this sexually-transmitted infection.’


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