ICARS is open for business! We are ready to receive Expressions of Interest from LMICs to co-develop AMR mitigation projects. We also hope countries/foundations will join us as Founding and Supporting Members.” – said Robert Skov, the Scientific Director of ICARS.
At an online event on December 3rd, ICARS has launched its invitation to low- and middle-income countries to submit project proposals that will support the implementation of their AMR National Action Plans. ICARS has also expressed its wish to partner with countries and foundations around the world, attracting potential donors interested in joining hands to tackle AMR. The webinar was co-hosted with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Danish Embassy to the Republic of Korea – the full recording is available here.
AMR is a global health threat that claims 700.000 lives a year. ICARS’ focus is on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where tackling resistant infections sustainably poses a great challenge. We provide a unique value proposition – a funded partnership, collaborating with LMICs to co-develop evidence-based solutions to combat AMR. LMICs themselves shape and lead the development and implementation of these solutions, which are built on their National Action Plan and rooted in the country’s priorities.
ICARS works directly with the LMIC governments, researchers, and a wide range of stakeholders nationally to start moving evidence into action. Intervention and implementation research projects supported by ICARS are currently being co-developed with Vietnam and Georgia in areas such as antimicrobial stewardship and reduction of the use of antibiotics in agriculture.
For example, in Vietnam, the project supported by ICARS will engage major Pangasius producers, vaccine companies, government staff and relevant local research expertise. The aim of the project is to provide sustainable and cost-effective practices that can reduce the use of antimicrobials in Pangasius production, the ultimate goal being that solutions will be taken up in both policies and practices. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of Pangasius (catfish) and in 2017 sold 1.2 million tonnes valued at €1.8 billion. Bacterial pathogens are causing diseases in Pangasius, but although vaccines are available, they are not widely used. The project is designed to build on already-established commercial partnerships between Pangasius farms and vaccine developers to ensure uptake of the solutions and a long-term impact.
“We would like to test the impact of both vaccination and the use of a revised list of antibiotics in aquaculture. This is a key point for MARD’s cooperation with ICARS” – Dr. Nguyen Thu Thuy, Deputy Director General at the Department of Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam.
Similarly to COVID-19, the spread of resistant pathogens knows no borders. A problem in one country can spill-over to other regions of the world. The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It is therefore important for all countries to join in the effort.
While currently fully supported by the Danish Government, ICARS will become an independent organization as of January 1st 2021, attracting support from a variety of donors and transforming into an international organization with a global impact.
“We need more answers to crucial questions on how we can transform scientific evidence and policy plans into solutions that work in the real world, especially in low- and middle-income countries where the threat of AMR is greatest. This is why Denmark has taken the initiative to establish the independent International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions.
But Denmark cannot support the vision of ICARS alone. If we are to achieve real change and assist a large number of countries – we need others to join us. ICARS is setting off on its journey – and now is the time for countries and foundations to contribute and make their mark … as Founding Members.” – Magnus Heunicke, Danish Minister for Health.
At ICARS, we strongly believe in collaborating with existing national and international initiatives and programmes, adding value to their efforts to ensure synergy and avoid duplication. Today’s event is a testimony of our desire to work with initiatives such as the Fleming Fund and others that generate AMR data and evidence, and collaborate with them to move such evidence into action . ICARS has recently signed collaborative agreements with ILRI, ReAct and the Tripartite to work closely together, and we expect to foster more such partnerships in the near future.
“Evidence shows that AMR is happening now and is impacting every single country. It is not just about building back from COVID-19, it is about building our global preparedness. Evidence and action go hand in hand so we need to use them, share them and build on them. My message to you all is: Don’t give up, collect evidence as you go, and collaborate!” – said Dame Sally Davies, UK Special Envoy for AMR, in closing the webinar.