We need to be able to rapidly detect infection and find the best treatment options, as well as investigating alternatives to current antimicrobials.

A large number and variety of diseases and infections are caused by microbes, from ‘flu to athlete’s foot, malaria, and tuberculosis. Since the mid twentieth century antimicrobial medicines have been developed to kill many of the viruses, fungi, protozoa and bacteria that make us ill. Inevitably, microbes are becoming increasingly resistant to our arsenal of antimicrobials, not least because of how we over use these life-saving medicines.

We need new medicines as well as a better understanding of why, how, and where resistance to antimicrobials develops; we need to be able to rapidly detect infection and find the best treatment options, as well as investigating alternatives to current antimicrobials. This requires research into the biology, chemistry, pharmacology and genetics of microbes, and observing how microbes behave in different environments such as the human gut, on farms, and in water treatment plants and hospitals. New diagnostics are needed to rapidly detect causes of infection and ensure patients are given effective and appropriate medicines.

To this end, a group of learned societies – the Learned Society Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance (LeSPAR) Fig 1 – is looking to find suggestions and solutions from among their collective community of 75,000 researchers, and beyond.

LeSPAR aims to provide a single, unified voice and mobilise the UK’s collective research community in order to enhance understanding and knowledge sharing between academia, industry, and clinicians. The group is focused on taking action, championing best practice and raising awareness of the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance by:

  • Supporting researchers in creating, sharing and applying knowledge.
  • Organising focused events to enable networking and knowledge exchange, and to promote effective collaborations across disciplines and sectors.
  • Engaging with government and other funders to achieve policy and funding support for the antimicrobial research community and connecting expertise from our membership to policy makers.
  • Assembling information on relevant resources and meetings.

LeSPAR comprises:
Biochemical Society; British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy; British Pharmacological Society; Royal Society of Chemistry; Society for Applied Microbiology; Microbiology Society; Society of Biology