This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Sheryl Anchan

Science and Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

30th July 2014 Mumbai, India

The uninvited bacteria!

In 1928 the world celebrated the invention of penicillin by the British scientist Alexander Fleming and rightly so, as it brought about a revolution in the field of medicine and enabled treating life-threatening diseases like pneumococcal pneumonia, meningitis, etc. Unfortunately today, with growing strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics, the world once again stands on a battle-field to counter-attack the enemy – the uninvited bacteria!

Earlier this month, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the seriousness of this issue. In his speech, he mentioned that the world could be ‘cast back into the dark ages of medicine’ unless action is taken to tackle the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics. The Prime Minister also announced a review to help analyse and address the key issues surrounding this growing threat. The group of panelists who will look into this review will include experts from science, finance, industry and global health.

Launched by David Cameron at the G8 Summit in 2013, the Longitude Prize 2014 has been developed and run by Nesta. Antibiotic resistance has been voted to be one of the greatest issues of our times and this prize is aimed at promoting an innovation that can help solve this serious problem.

While talking about governments and prizes, I am also reminded of a group of researchers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore who are doing some excellent research in this area. My colleague, Sunil Kumar visited them a few weeks ago. Do read his blog to know more about the team at JNCASR and their work.

I can’t wait to share with you the exciting UK-India joint AMR-related activities that the S&IN India team is putting together in the coming months. In September, I will be heading to Bangalore as that’s where our first event takes place, in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry. We are putting together a two-day workshop on ‘Anti-microbial resistance, Open innovation and drug discovery’ and ‘Biomedical research on infectious diseases and translation’. This will take place on 11-12 September 2014. Plans are also underway to put together a UK-India workshop on Hospital Acquired Infections. This event will most likely take place in March 2015 in Delhi. Through these events, we aim to strengthen UK-India partnerships in this important area and hope to take several small steps towards contributing to global efforts in circumventing this growing threat. To know more about our upcoming events on anti-microbial resistance and infectious diseases, do watch this space and feel free to write to me.

The title of my blog might sound like a story picked straight out from a school text-book, but at the risk of sounding too optimistic, I hope someday we might probably live to proudly tell the story of how the world came together and tackled the threat posed by the uninvited bacteria, to our future generations

1 comment on “The uninvited bacteria!

  1. Multi drug resistant bacteria is a serious worldwide problem and most of the Pharmaceutical companies are shrinking their anti infective dug discovery efforts. In this situation S&IN initiative towards open innovation and research translation is welcomed. With combination of Industrial technology, Government funding and directional initiatives society can combat this situation.

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About Sheryl Anchan

Sheryl Anchan joined the Science and Innovation Network in 2006 and is based in the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. She is a Science and Innovation Adviser and leads…

Sheryl Anchan joined the Science and Innovation Network in 2006 and is based in the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. She is a Science and Innovation Adviser and leads on the network’s life-sciences and health-related activities and projects. Sheryl has a significant experience in working with a range of stakeholders across government, academia, research and development institutions and industry in India and the UK. She is well-placed to facilitate linkages and build stronger ties between scientific communities in India and the UK within the life sciences sector. She has played an important role in raising the profile of the network and its activities through various media including the website, blog, webinars; and had initiated the monthly Science and Innovation India newsletter. She has an academic background in Botany and Horticulture.

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