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Archbishop of York to become patron of national charity tackling superbugs

Published on: 16/12/15

Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK), a charity founded in 2014 to save modern medicine from the onslaught of superbugs, has announced that Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, has agreed to become the charity’s Patron. 

Superbugs are fast becoming an increasing problem in hospitals and the community as bacteria become ever-more resistant to existing antibiotics. The charity believes there is a significant risk that future generations will not enjoy the same benefits of medicine as we do today, and that medical procedures we currently take for granted could become much more perilous.

Professor Colin Garner, chief executive of ANTRUK, says: “We are delighted that the Archbishop of York has agreed to become the charity’s Patron and to make this announcement ahead of European Antibiotic Awareness Day this Wednesday, which is focused on raising awareness of the responsible use of antibiotics. The Archbishop has a long standing commitment to healthcare and its importance to society across the globe.”

ANTRUK’s immediate task is to raise £250,000 to fund its first research programme to tackle superbugs. The charity, with some of the UK’s top antibiotic resistance researchers and scientists behind it, including Dr David Brown, the chair of the charity’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, who has had a long and distinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry; and Professor Neil Woodford, of Public Health England’s antibiotic resistance screening centre, aims to develop its first new antibiotic therapy by the early 2020’s.

Antibiotic resistant infections are currently much higher in countries with high deprivation, such as African nations and those in the Indian sub-continent, and the concern is that resistance from high-incidence areas will spread.

Effective antibiotics are critical in an effective modern medicine environment. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said in July 2014 when launching the O’Neill Antimicrobial Review chaired by Lord O’Neill that “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 where treatable infections and injuries will kill once again.”

The Archbishop of York has committed to helping ANTRUK achieve its primary objective to save modern medicine. He says: “I am pleased to support Antibiotic Research, a charity dedicated to addressing the problems associated with antibiotic resistance which is one of the most  significant threats to patients' safety in Europe and worldwide. It is important to use antibiotics as they are prescribed so that these antibiotics can continue to be used to treat infections, to save lives and to provide good healthcare for all.”

In the longer term, ANTRUK aims to raise £30 million from public and private sources over the next 10 years, through a combination of traditional fundraising, corporate sponsorship, giving by trusts and foundations as well as newer fundraising methods such as crowd funding. 

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