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Project information

New treatments for deadly infecions

We have reached our Big Give matching target. While your donations will no longer be doubled, you can still donate to help tackle this growing global health crisis. Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, but it's children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems most at risk.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Antibiotic Research UK

Antibiotic Research UK logo
  • Need


    Drug resistant infections are the biggest threat to modern medicine with superbugs killing more than 700,000 people globally each year. In the UK alone, this figure is reported to be at least 12,000. Without a solution, by 2050 it is estimated that 10 million people could die worldwide each year from drug resistant infections. With the likelihood of new antibiotics far away in the future there is a clear need to find immediate ways to save current antibiotics while looking for new treatments.


    Our research programme focuses on developing new antibiotic therapies, identifying non-antibiotic alternatives and providing small grants for early stage research. In particular we are investigating Antibiotic Resistance Breakers (existing drugs which when combined with current antibiotics overcome the superbug’s resistance); specific resistance mechanisms developed by bacteria and alternative non-antibiotic treatments for common illnesses (eg diarrhoea) where antibiotics are often prescribed.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Continue research into breaking resistance to existing antibiotics.


    » Develop a kit for microbiology labs in partner hospitals to sensitivity test patients' infectious resistant bacteria to combinations of antibiotics
    » Test 6 promising drugs identified in the previous screen (some currently used for cancer treatment), including structure-activity relationship studies

    What success will look like

    Establish what parts of the molecule are essential for antibiotic activity. Greater understanding of combinations of drugs required to treat patients who have resistant infections

    Aim 2

    Conduct the first phase of a study to develop a non-antibiotic alternative to treat diarrhoea.


    » Work with The University of Southampton, University of Hong Kong & Zhejiang University to optimise a mix of 3 different 'over the counter' components.

    What success will look like

    Determine the optimum mix required to treat diarrhoea.

    Aim 3

    Award up to 10 small research grants / year. Breathing new life into antibiotic research across UK.


    » With external assessors, review applications using the scoring system developed by the Medical Research Council for use by independent referees.

    What success will look like

    Grants awarded and satisfactory end of project reports submitted outlining results and impact.

  • Impact


    The project will 1) help to provide an interim solution to the global problem of drug resistant infections, 2) provide ‘personalised medicine’ to patients with antibiotic resistant infections, 3) help to provide an effective alternative to antibiotics when treating diarrhoea and 4) help to breathe new life into early stage antibiotic research in the UK.


    There is a risk that the universities and pharmaceutical companies we work with don’t complete the research to time or to standard. To mitigate this we have carefully chosen our research partners to ensure that they are of the highest quality. Their activity will be guided by our expert Science Committee, conducted under contract and regularly monitored by Prof Colin Garner, Prof Chris Dowson and Dr Lloyd Czaplewski.


    Donors will be invited to join our mailing list where they will receive a monthly e-newsletter highlighting the project’s progress. They will also be able to follow developments by checking our social media channels which are regularly updated.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £227,186

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £65,500 Scientists Specialist research scientists
      £66,600 Consumables & Facilities Consumables, drugs, bacterial cultures, use of specialist lab equipment, postage
      £12,000 Patient Expenses Patient reimbursement & expenses (non-antibiotic alternative research)
      £40,000 Small Grants Direct costs of small grants
      £23,715 Project / Grant Management Project / Grant Management costs
      £19,371 Support costs Associated administration and support costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Various charitable trusts and individual donors £141,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Antibiotic resistant infections are a growing global problem with an estimated 700,000 people dying each year. While ANTRUK is UK based, the application of our research is worldwide. Within this are some defined groups who are especially susceptible to drug resistant infections, such as the elderly, people living in deprived communities and those admitted to hospital for routine treatments which rely on effective antibiotics, such as hip replacements, cancer treatment and caesarean sections.


    Antibiotic resistance is life-threatening, with the young and old being most at risk. If we don’t act now, treating infections caused by a cut or graze and medical procedures such as caesareans will become impossible. Without antibiotics life expectancy could reduce by up to 20 years. Therefore, anyone who contracts a drug resistant infection such as pneumonia, septicaemia, urinary tract infections and wound infections could benefit from our research. These are people whose lives we could save.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We’re the only charity dedicated to tackling antibiotic resistance, concentrating our efforts where they will yield the greatest benefit.
    Our Science Committee are drawn from eminent scientists and clinicians – leaders in the field of drug resistant infections.
    We work with some of the best university laboratories and pharmaceutical organisations.
    As a ‘virtual’ organisation, our research takes place in other organisations’ laboratories, making us very cost effective.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Colin Garner

    ANTRUK Chief Exec. University academic & scientific entrepreneur, heading up a cancer research laboratory at the University of York for almost 20 yrs

    Dr Lloyd Czaplewski

    Science Committee & Project Manager. 20+ yrs R&D experience. For last 15 yrs focused on antibacterial R&D (eg. bacterial cell wall biosynthesis)

    Dr Chris Dowson

    Trustee & Chair of Science Committee. Expert in evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance. Chair at Warwick Uni Member of Medical Research Council

    Dr David Wareham

    Member of Science Committee. Clinical Snr Lecturer/Hon Consultant in Microbiology, Centre for Immunology & Infectious Disease, Blizard Inst & Barts


Could pay for a research scientist for a day

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

David Cameron, former UK Prime Minister