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Antibiotic Resistance: Coordinating Research at the Supra-national Level

The first ever World Antibiotic Awareness Week is currently underway. Today also happens to be European Antibiotic Awareness Day. These campaigns, initiated respectively by the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Control, are an opportunity for ANR to highlight its involvement in the Joint Programming Initiative “Antimicrobial Resistance” (JPI AMR).

The discovery of antibiotics constitutes one of the most crucial advances in the history of medicine. Their use has revolutionised the way we fight bacterial infections and significantly reduced the number of deaths they cause.

The development of antibiotic resistance and, more broadly, anti-microbials has thrown doubt on these drugs’ effectiveness and could lead to therapeutic deadlocks, rendering treatment of some serious infections impossible. The fight against resistance has become a national, European and international public health challenge.

The need for a collective response

The emergence and selection of antimicrobial-resistant pathogenic agents are complex phenomena and involve different environmental compartments, as well as a variety human activities and practices. Responding effectively to these phenomena demands a coordinated and collective response both geographically and in terms of engaging sectors, actors and disciplines. Concerted actions are needed in the fields of politics, medicine, industry, the environment, veterinary and agricultural science and education.
The Joint Programming Initiative "Microbial Resistance" has pitched in by coordinating research efforts at the international level. The initiative aims to maximise the impact of funds allocated and cut down on research duplication. This initiative brings together research and funding organisations from twenty-two countries. Inserm and ANR are the initiative’s French members.

Six priority research themes

Following a wide-ranging consultation, JPI AMR has adopted a strategic research agenda which identifies six priority themes spanning a number of issues:

  • Therapeutics : Developing new antibiotics and antibiotic alternatives - from basic research to commercialising.
  • Diagnosis : Devising strategies to improve the treatment and prevention of infections through the development of new diagnostic methods.
  • Surveillance : Standardising and extending antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems in the move towards a global antimicrobial use and resistance programme.
  • Transmission : Improving knowledge regarding transmission dynamics.
  • Environment : Improving knowledge about the environment’s role as a source in the selection and spread of resistance.
  • Interventions : Designing and testing new protocols to prevent the acquisition, transmission and occurrence of resistant bacteria-caused infections.

Encouraging cross-border research

This strategic agenda serves as a framework for the JPI and its members to establish and support research. JP AMR has set out to advocate international research, launching yearly calls for proposals. Typically launched in collaboration with major stakeholders (ex. the European Commission), these international calls for proposals contribute to developing new approaches in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Two calls for proposals have been launched under JPI AMR: the first deals with innovative approaches to combat antimicrobial resistance (seven projects funded, including four with French partners), the second deals with reviving neglected antibiotics (three projects funded, all with French partners). Two calls for proposals are planned in 2016, including an European Commission-backed Era-Net Cofund dealing with the transmission dynamics of antimicrobial resistance. Funding for French partners participating in international projects makes up approximately €2 M, in addition to €4.3 M for funding purely national projects on issues concerning resistance.

 

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What’s a JPI ?

Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) are a mode of cooperation between Member States in the service of the European Research Area. They aim to optimise national research efforts and the networking of actors (agencies and funders), in order to respond as effectively as possible to the major societal challenges which Europeans face. They are based on a structured process and set forth a common vision and a strategic research agenda which address issues that national programmes cannot tackle alone. The JPI places emphasis on uniting research efforts in Europe by integrating and coordinating said efforts and by establishing joint research programmes to address major societal challenges.
The JPI pools resources and prepares a common strategic research agenda. It also launches multinational calls for projects, some of which may be co-funded by the European Commission.


18.11.15