Medical research conducted by academics at UEA has been honoured at a national awards ceremony for the potential to “make a huge difference to global health”.
The research, conducted by scientists at Norwich Medical School, aimed to tackle the growing threat of bacteria growing resistance to antibiotics, leaving many infections untreatable as a result. It won the research project of the year at the Times Higher Education awards.
Professor Changjian Dong, who lead the project, said: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest challenges facing modern medicine and I feel very honoured that our research has [won] such a prestigious award. Many antibiotics are becoming useless, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Super-bug numbers are increasing at an unexpected rate. We want to change that”.
The focus of the research revolved around wearing down the defensive shells protecting bacteria rather than the bacteria itself, meaning that the bacteria would not actually develop resistance.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in the UK, with a Public Health England (PHE) report saying that the number of people with a “significant antibiotic resistant infection” has increased dramatically between 2010 and 2014.
The World Health Organisation has also said the resistance is a “major threat to public health”. Overall it said that prescribing antibiotics to those in hospital increased by 11.7% between 2011 and 2014 and over the same period 8.5% for hospital outpatients.