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Ineos Oxford Institute

Preventing the unthinkable from becoming the inevitable

Now is the Time to Tackle Antibiotic Resistance

The discovery of Penicillin and its purification into the first antibiotic in the early 1940s was one of the greatest medical advances of the 20th century. Antibiotics changed the course of medical history saving countless lives at the end of the second world war, making childbirth safe for the first time in human history and allowing the creation of all modern surgery and cancer treatment that we benefit from today. Following the discovery of Penicillin there was a “Golden age” of antibiotic discovery lasting several decades. Sadly, this era has finished, and we are left with a dwindling stock of medicines that are becoming ever less effective as bacteria naturally develop resistance to their actions.

If we do not find new ways of maintaining this brief period in human history where we still have the upper hand over bacteria, then more people could die from simple infections than cancer. Already around 700,000 people per year are believed to die from drug resistant infections and future generations will live in a post-antibiotic era. The cost to our world economy is predicted to be over $100 trillion by 2050. A world in which we move backwards in terms of health is unthinkable, but is a very real prospect if we fail to dedicate adequate recourses to this currently neglected area of scientific discovery.

We can solve this silent pandemic as we have done before, by combining scientists working together with industry and governments across the globe. The Ineos Oxford Institute (IOI) is already undertaking the basic synthetic chemistry required together with novel microbiological analysis to aid new antibiotic discovery. Our job is to stop the unthinkable from becoming the inevitable.

Fighting antibiotic resistance is a major thread of the global fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which encompasses all drug-resistant infections- including those caused by bacteria. Find out more about the growth of AMR and the urgency of our work here.

About the Institute

The Ineos Oxford Institute for Antimicrobial Research was established to advance the search for solutions for one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. We work in the lab, in the field and with the public to discover new ways to prevent and treat drug resistant infections.

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms - bacteria, viruses, fungi - develop the ability to fight off medicines designed to kill them or prevent their spread.

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Flags commemorate American Covid 19 losses on the National Mall, Washington DC.
The growth of AMR could soon cause more deaths than the Covid pandemic around the globe, on an ongoing basis.