India-UK experts come together for new antibiotic & TB research

BENGALURU: In a bid to address the growing concern of antimicrobial resistance, experts from across the UK and India are collaborating to explore innovative approaches for the development of new antibiotics, led by the Public Health England (PHE) and the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), Bengaluru.

The collaboration will explore a range of issues, from design and synthesis of novel drugs through to their preclinical evaluation, with a particular emphasis on antimicrobial resistance to tuberculosis (TB).

Professor Seshadri Vasan, PHE Senior Business Development Manager told TOI from London: “While antimicrobial resistance is a global problem, it particularly impacts those with TB, and India where the incidence of TB is high offers a lot of valuable learnings for those in the field.”

“Multi- and extensively-drug resistant tuberculosis is one of the biggest crises facing mankind, so this workshop is of topical importance,” RGICD Director Professor C Nagaraja said.

To achieve this, a workshop with funds from the Newton Fund-Royal Society of Chemistry, will be conducted at RGICD between December 14 and 18, which will see Forty best young minds — 20 each from India and the UK — selected through an open competition and steered by 10 expert mentors and observers participate.

A panel of expert mentors from British Council, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, PHE, RGICD, Royal Society of Chemistry and University of York has been convened to consider the chemistry-microbiology interface and scope for innovation.

Dr Rashmi Shukla CBE, PHE Director and executive lead for India said: “We hope that the workshop will lay the foundation for a range of interlinked researchers in this critically important field of study and the work will help the global fight against TB and antimicrobial resistance.”

“Applicants who have obtained their PhD or MD or equivalent qualification on or after 1 July 2004 will be eligible to apply. The call for applications, available on will close on 15 September and successful applicants will be notified by October 2017,” PHE said in a statement shared with TOI.

It added that selected early career researchers will work with mentors who are clinical and research microbiologists, medicinal chemists and commercial experts, to explore innovative approaches and develop a deeper understanding of the range of disciplines that underpin research on antibiotics development and evaluation.

The Newton Fund and the Royal Society of Chemistry have worked with PHE’s Dr Mark Sutton and Professor Seshadri Vasan to facilitate this event, which will strengthen existing and future collaboration between the two countries.

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