University expert spearheads campaign to boost antibiotic research

A top UK microbiologist from the University is championing a major initiative calling for urgent new investment in antibiotic research.

Professor Laura Piddock is leading Antibiotic Action (AA), a global initiative by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) to highlight the threat to world health from multi-drug resistant bacteria and lobby for urgent action to develop new antimicrobial treatments. The BSAC believes the world is facing an unprecedented crisis.

The University is at the forefront of intense collaborative research efforts to explore how bacteria become antibiotic resistant and to identify potential new drugs to combat resistance. Birmingham’s strength in this area lies in understanding antimicrobial resistance and how bacteria infect the host.

‘Twenty-first century medicine is very different from when antibiotics were first developed 70 years ago,’ explains Professor Piddock from the School of Immunity and Infection.

‘If we want effective cancer or transplant treatments, we have to be able to treat the modern infections those patients often develop. Many patients spend time in ICUs or have longer stays in hospital and are therefore exposed to drug-resistant bacteria.

‘The number of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections is increasing and causing considerable problems and unnecessary deaths. A return to a pre-antibiotic era is an all-too-real possibility and living with the spectre of untreatable infections could be a reality within our lifetimes unless urgent action is taken now,’ she adds.

You can show your support for the Antibiotic Action Initiative today, ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (Sunday 18 November), and sign a petition calling for renewed investment in new antibiotics. By raising public, and Government, awareness of the impending crisis of the lack of new antibiotics, Antibiotic Action hopes to change political will to influence the attitude of funding bodies to encourage the discovery of new treatments.

For more information about Antibiotic Action, visit: