UAE Ministry working with Birmingham on ’Happiness’ Project

Scientists from the University of Birmingham are uniting to support World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) from November 13th to 19th.

The face of the University’s ‘Old Joe’ clock tower will be lit blue to mark the awareness week, which is led by the World Health Organization and aims to encourage people to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional before taking antibiotics.

Antimicrobial resistance is becoming an increasingly serious threat. If not addressed, by 2050 it could kill millions of people - more than from cancer or road traffic accidents.

The University of Birmingham has one of the biggest teams of microbiologists in the European Union, devoted to tackling this global issue by carrying out pioneering research to better understand how bacteria cause infection, how antibiotics work, the causes of resistance, prevention of spread of resistant bacteria and finding new ways to treat infections.

Professor Laura Piddock , of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, said: “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.

“New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.

“Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery become very high risk.

“Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials is providing the pressure to select drug resistant microbes.

“The University of Birmingham is leading the way in carrying out vital new research to tackle this global threat.”

The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology & Infection is tackling antibiotic resistance in three ways:

  • Reviewing drugs that are either already in use for other conditions, or which fell by the wayside during development, but which may offer powerful treatment options for antimicrobial resistant bacteria or fungi.
  • Working to discover new drugs that may kill or disable microbes directly, or may indirectly convert antibiotic-resistant bacteria into antibiotic-sensitive ones.
  • Developing completely new approaches that do not rely on antibiotics for dealing with infections. These include novel vaccines, smart antimicrobial surfaces for hospitals, and so-called ‘immune-modulatory’ approaches that aim to stimulate the body’s own immune system to eradicate infections more successfully.

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