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21 January 2016
Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance

International declaration to beat drug-resistant infections

More than 80 leading international pharmaceutical, diagnostics and biotechnology companies, as well as key industry bodies, have come together to call on governments and industry to work in parallel in taking comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections – so-called ‘superbugs’ – with a joint declaration launched on Thursday 21 January 2016 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance sets out for the first time how governments and industry need to work together to support sustained investment in the new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the natural process by which bacteria and other microbes develop resistance to the drugs commonly used to combat them - and the growth of resistance to antibiotics represents a particular threat to modern healthcare. The independent Review on AMR estimated in 2014 that without effective global action, the rise of AMR could claim 10 million lives globally each year by 2050, and result in a cumulative loss from global output of 100 trillion USD.

The Declaration represents a major milestone in the global response to these challenges, with commercial drug and diagnostic developers for the first time agreeing on a common set of principles for global action to support antibiotic conservation and the development of new drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines.

Hyrax Biosciences - a company spun out of the University of the Western Cape and housed at UWC’s South African National Bioinformatics Institute - is the only African signatory of this important declaration. The company develops software that facilitates the rollout of low-cost resistance testing using next-generation sequencing approaches, with a primary focus on resource-limited settings, where the burden of infectious disease is high and the ability to provide clinicians with all of the relevant information is critical for successful treatment.

The Declaration sets out a commitment to further action on drug resistance by its signatories, in:

  1. Reducing the development of drug resistance;

  2. Increasing investment in research and development that meets global public health needs; and

  3. Improving access to high-quality antibiotics for all.

In addition, the industry is calling on governments around the world to now go beyond existing statements of intent and take concrete action, in collaboration with companies, to support investment in the development of antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines, and other products vital for the prevention and treatment of drug-resistant infections.

For more information, consult the Declaration at or view the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance’s press release here.