Prime Minister David Cameron, has announced a review into antimicrobial resistance, and why so few drugs have been manufactured in recent years. The last major antibiotic was created in 1987.

Jim O’Neill, former Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs, will lead a global panel of experts from science, finance, industry, and global health, aiming to spur the development of a “new generation of antibiotics”. Work will begin in September, with the first £500,000 of the project being funded by the Wellcome Trust.  Mr O’Neill is expected to deliver his recommendations next spring.

The review will set out a plan for encouraging and accelerating the discovery and development of new generations of antibiotics, and will examine:


  • The development, use and regulatory environment of antimicrobials, especially antibiotics, and explore how to make investment in new antibiotics more attractive to pharmaceutical companies and other funding bodies.


  • The balance between effective and sustainable incentives for investment, and the need to conserve antimicrobial drugs so they remain effective for as long as possible.


  • How governments and other funders can stimulate investment in new antimicrobials and timeframes and mechanisms for implementation.


  • Increasing international cooperation and support for action by the international community, including much closer working with low and middle income countries on this issue.


David Cameron has become the first world leader to speak out about the threat, signalling escalating global concern at the highest level. He believes that he has the agreement of President Obama and Angela Merkel for co-ordinated action to find new drugs after raising the issue with them privately at a G7 summit last month.

“This is not some distant threat but something happening right now,” Mr Cameron said. “If we fail to act, we are looking at an almost unthinkable scenario where antibiotics no longer work and we are cast back into the dark ages of medicine where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.

The prime minister added: “When we’ve had these problems in the past, whether it is how we tackle HIV and Aids, how it is possible to lead the world and get rid of diseases like polio, Britain has taken a lead and I think it is right we take a lead again.”

Antibiotics can take decades to be developed, with enormous investment. Alongside this development, it is vital to have effective stewardship of anti-microbials, now, and preserve the antibiotics we currently have for the future.  

This need has been recognised by the public and professionals through the 2014 Longitude Prize. NESTA and the Technology Strategy Board set up the challenge with a £10 million prize fund to help solve one of “the greatest issues of our time”.

Of six major issues, antimicrobial resistance was voted the winner on 25th June 

This means the challenge has been set to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections,  that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

If you’ve got an idea for how to overcome this challenge, you can put forward your idea to the Longitude Committee, here:

For the moment, the website is relatively sparse, although they have stated that more information will be uploaded as progress is made, including uploading case studies of currently available diagnostics.

If you have a diagnostic test which does help towards slowing the spread of AMR, you should get in touch with them, to raise awareness of this test, and perhaps become a case study

Antibiotics can take decades to develop alongside enormous investment. Alongside this development, it is vital to have effective stewardship of antimicrobials, now, and preserve the antibiotics we currently have for the future.  

For more information, please contact us.