The University of Birmingham’s iconic clock tower ‘Old Joe’ turned a shade of blue as part of European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) on Tuesday 18 October.


This year’s EAAD message is to raise awareness on how to use antibiotics in a responsible way that will help keep them effective for as long as possible and until new treatments are available.

Laura Piddock, Professor of Microbiology, and Deputy Director of the Institute of Microbiology & Infection at the University of Birmingham, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement and Director of Antibiotic Action, explained, “Antibiotic use and resistance is still increasing, but it's not surprising with the widespread and often indiscriminate use of these invaluable medicines"

There has not been a new class of antibiotic drugs discovered since the 1980s, and the World Health Organisation recently warned that “many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, could kill unabated.

The Institute of Microbiology & Infection comprises 230 researchers who work on bacterial and fungal pathogens. Their novel microbiological discoveries are a platform for antimicrobial drug discovery to feed the drug development pipeline. Laura Piddock continued ‘’with the demise of discovery, R&D of new antibiotics by big Pharma the early discovery void is being filled by academic researchers such as those at the University of Birmingham’’

Notes to editors:

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European Antibiotic Awareness Day is supported by:

  • Public Health England
  • the Department of Health’s expert advisory committee on antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections (ARHAI)
  • the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)
  • local authorities
  • the devolved administrations
  • professional bodies and organisations