South African Medical Research Council Renews Funding to GARDP


31 May 2021

The Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) is very pleased to announce renewed funding by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) to tackle drug-resistant infections. The SAMRC is providing an additional 3.9 million South African rand (ZAR) to support GARDP’s activities in developing new and improved antibiotic treatments for drug-resistant infections that pose the greatest threat to health.

The funding will be used to expand South African-based research and development in neonatal sepsis, serious bacterial infections and sexually transmitted infections.

“Antibiotic resistance is a silent pandemic, a global challenge and an important public health priority for South Africa,” said Carol Ruffell, Head of DNDi GARDP Southern Africa. “I am delighted that we are strengthening our strategic relationship towards a common goal of addressing drug-resistant infections.”

The ZAR3.9 million in funding is a continuation of GARDP’s collaboration with the SAMRC which began in 2017 and is aimed at addressing drug-resistant infections with a high burden in South Africa.

“The SAMRC’s mission is to improve the quality of life and health status of people through relevant and impactful research and innovation,” said Dr Niresh Bhagwandin, Executive Manager of Strategic Research Initiatives for the SAMRC. “By working together, the SAMRC and GARDP can better achieve their shared goals and leverage global collaboration for research and development activities in South Africa.”

“This great endeavour is evidence that global partnerships can help us to design responsive health interventions, which can be taken to scale for health impact and to augment change within our communities,” said Professor Glenda Gray, SAMRC President and CEO. “We have been fortunate to partner with GARDP to support our vision of building healthy populations through research, innovation and transformation,” added Gray.

ZAR2 million will support GARDP’s Serious Bacterial Infections programme, which aims to address critically underfunded and unfilled gaps in the development of treatments for drug-resistant hospital infections. The funding will support an observational study of adults with serious bacterial infections caused by multi drug-resistant gram-negative pathogens in South African public hospitals.

ZAR1 million will enable a secondary analysis of South African-specific data on neonatal sepsis. This data was generated by one of the largest observational studies on the care of newborns with sepsis completed last year by GARDP and partners. Specialist researchers in neonatology, infectious diseases and microbiology from the three participating South African sites – the Chris Hani Baragwanath, Charlotte Maxeke and Tygerberg hospitals – will jointly conduct several secondary analyses of the NeoAMR clinical and laboratory data from the 600 South African neonates enrolled in the 2019-2020 study. This will help to gain a better understanding of how best to treat neonates, who are particularly vulnerable to bacterial infections.

A further ZAR900,000 will support a programme to address drug-resistant gonorrhoea, which poses a major health challenge globally. The SAMRC funding will support the strengthening of national antimicrobial surveillance by evaluating AMR in Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection in adolescent girls and young women who are particularly at risk for STIs.

Better surveillance of gonorrhoea will help to evaluate the use of current antibiotic treatments and support the introduction of new ones.

“GARDP greatly welcomes the SAMRC funding, which will support our work to develop new and improved treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections in both adults and children for which there are very limited options,” said Seamus O’ Brien, GARDP’s Research & Development Director.

About GARDP

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.

The joint Southern African GARDP and DNDi office opened in Cape Town in November 2017. In 2018 GARDP-DNDi Southern Africa registered a not for profit company in South Africa. The office works in close collaboration with a broad range of partners across sectors ranging from the South African government and academia to hospitals and civil society.

About the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

The SAMRC is dedicated to improving the health of people in South Africa, through research, innovation, development and technology transfer. The scope of research includes laboratory investigations, clinical research, and public health studies. It aims to help strengthen the health systems throughout South Africa and has been one of the first institutions globally to provide financial support to GARDP since its creation.


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