Exeter announces new £3.4 million global funding for solutions to antifungal drug resistance

Published: 8-May-2024

Researchers working on solutions for antifungal resistance are being encouraged to apply to a new £3.4 million fund led by the University of Exeter with UK government funding

Researchers working on solutions for antifungal resistance are being encouraged to apply to a new £3.4 million fund led by the University of Exeter with UK government funding.

The new fund, called FAILSAFE (Fungal AMR Innovations for LMICS: Solutions and Access For Everyone), is being launched by the University of Exeter’s MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, in partnership with the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).

Life-threatening fungal diseases take as many lives annually as TB or malaria, but the organisms that cause them are understudied, and the number of drugs available to treat them is limited. Considering this threat, increasing frequencies of antifungal drug resistance amongst fungi in the natural environment and in patients undergoing hospital treatment means even fewer drugs are effective.

Antifungal drug resistance is a huge threat not only to human health, where some fungi are particularly deadly to people with compromised immune systems, including children with leukaemia, but also to global food security as resistant fungal pathogens can affect a broad range of species of animals and plants and therefore essential crops for the human food supply — the new FAILSAFE project is aiming to address this issue.


What is GAMRIF?

GAMRIF is a One Health UK Aid fund that supports research and development around the world to reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and the environment for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries.

GAMRIF is partnering with the University of Exeter’s MRC Centre for Medical Mycology (MRC CMM), as it currently represents more than 30% of UK scientists working in medical mycology and is one of the largest medical mycology groupings worldwide.

The Centre’s overarching mission is to deliver research that will substantially advance human understanding of fungal pathogenesis, host immunity and disease phenotypes, thereby enabling the generation and utilisation of skills and knowledge that will improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of fungal diseases in the future.

Professor Elaine Bignell, Co-Director of Centre and FAILSAFE Co-Lead said: “Suppression of fungal diseases and drug resistance requires coordinated global research and development efforts. FAILSAFE will provide critical support for this and help to build a global network focusing on sustainable solutions and training, that will be developed and delivered in the many unique contexts in which fungal infections destroy lives.”


Applications now open

Bids for this first round of available funds are currently welcomed, and prospective applicants are encouraged to find out more here before the July deadline.

Project funds will support cutting-edge research and development that focuses on the generation of products or solutions to mitigate the consequences of AFR, the development of innovative One Health solutions to tackle AFR, increased availability of context-specific, accessible and affordable innovations for low and middle-income countries, establishment of international research partnerships with industry, academia and governments, or to collaborate with and leverage additional funding from other global donors. 


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