The UK government has announced an additional £1.5 million of funding to develop a new treatment for gonorrhoea. This investment, on top of £3.5 million committed in 2019, will support the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) in the development and availability of zoliflodacin, a novel antibiotic, which is currently being assessed as part of a global phase 3 trial for safety and effectiveness as a treatment for gonorrhoea.
This new antibiotic has the potential to treat drug resistant gonorrhoea and is one of the few antibiotics in development specifically for the disease, an important consideration to ensure the treatment remains effective for generations to come.
“Our investment to develop one of the few antibiotics to treat gonorrhoea shows our commitment to deliver medicines today which will change lives tomorrow,” said Lord Bethell, Minister for Innovation. “Supporting the fantastic work of GARDP shows our commitment to drive forward global health goals and cements the UK’s place at the forefront of the fight against antimicrobial resistance.”
Seamus O’Brien, GARDP Director of Research and Development, said: “We thank the UK for their increased contribution to GARDP and our work to develop a new treatment for gonorrhoea that is available to every person who needs it. Their support for our STI programme is critical for preventing the dire scenario of untreatable gonorrhoea and for the successful control of this infection.”
Gonorrhoea is among the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with an estimated 87 million new cases occurring globally every year, and has been identified as posing a significant threat to global health by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Resistance to recommended treatments for gonorrhoea has emerged globally, including in the UK. Addressing drug-resistant infections is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all. There is now an urgent need for new treatment options, particularly for people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), who are hit hardest by the burden of this disease. GARDP will develop a strategy for access and appropriate use within LMICs that have a high number of cases of gonorrhoea.
Gonorrhoea can have severe consequences on public health and, when left untreated, serious consequences for reproductive health as well as increased risk of transmission of HIV and other STIs. Women and vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected.
About the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the UK Government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer. The partnership with GARDP is part of DHSC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). GAMRIF was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, in the field of AMR. GAMRIF is a £50m UK Aid investment, which means all projects funded must support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Fund takes a ‘One Health’ approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment. The Fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, global funding mechanisms and global fora.
The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is a Swiss not-for-profit organization developing new treatments for drug-resistant infections that pose the greatest threat to health. GARDP was created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) in 2016 to ensure that everyone who needs antibiotics receives effective and affordable treatment. We aim to develop five new treatments by 2025 to fight drug-resistant infections. GARDP is funded by the governments of Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières and private foundations. GARDP is registered under the legal name GARDP Foundation.