Southampton researchers secure £3 million for dedicated infection lab

Clinicians and researchers in Southampton have secured £2.8 million to develop cutting-edge research laboratories to tackle antibiotic-resistant infections.

Overuse of antibiotics in recent years means they are becoming less effective and has led to the emergence of strains of bacteria that have become immune to treatment, known as antimicrobial resistance.

More than 5,000 people in the UK die from these infections every year – a number that is rising year-on-year with concerns new strains of bacteria may emerge that cannot be treated by any existing antibiotics.

Now, University Hospital Southampton and the University of Southampton’s Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention (UoS NAMRIP) are set to develop state-of-the-art research facilities to tackle that threat on the frontline.

The lab will allow real-time study of both emerging infections and new treatments, with researchers working directly with consultants and services including children’s medicine, surgery, infectious diseases and emergency medicine.

“It is critical that this facility is being embedded into hospital services,” said Professor Saul Faust, an expert in paediatric immunology and infectious diseases and director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility.

Paula Head, CEO of UHS, said: “Our dedicated and passionate staff are already tackling the threat of antibiotic resistance daily through better prescribing, care and infection prevention.“Patients will benefit by accessing trials of the very latest discoveries, technology and treatment, while our development of those new options and understanding will be massively accelerated.”

“As a leading university hospital it is our role to take the fight to these infections and I am delighted that this award gives us the means to drive tomorrow’s treatments.”

The £2.8 million funding is part of a £32 million package awarded to 10 sites nationally by the Department of Health and Social Care as part of its 20-year vision and five-year national plan on antimicrobial resistance.