Onward despite COVID: Russia’s IACMAC, AMR Voices (Longitude Prize), AMR in G20 Declaration

Dear All,

I know we are all really, really tired of COVID but it certainly is not tired of us! The recent news on the vaccine front is exciting, but my personal guess is that we’re unlikely to see large-scale gatherings until late in 2021 … it’s just going to take time to get everybody vaccinated.

So, today’s newsletter is about ways of working despite the virus. Three things of note: (i) a congress in Russia, (ii) a super publication on the personal impact of COVID & AMR, and (iii) an encouraging declaration from the recent G20 Leader’s Summit. Here we go…

First, I continue to be pleased to see efforts to implement congresses electronically despite COVID. IDSA’s recent IDWeek virtual meeting was a good example of this.

As a congress that is timed for our colleagues in Europe and Asia, I thought I’d give a shout out today to Russia’s IACMAC Congress being held this week (24-26 Nov 2020). IACMAC (the Interregional Association for Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, link to the society website) has over 1,300 members and collaborates with the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and multiple international clinical microbiology societies. 

IACMAC’s annual congress has been held annually in Moscow since 1997 and typically attracts > 1000 attendees. This year the program is virtual and runs approximately 9a-6p Moscow Standard Time (link to the meeting website). Except for the international speakers (e.g., a talk by me on 25 Nov at 8a EST/4p Moscow; post-meeting note: you can listen to it on YouTube), the congress is otherwise in Russian. But, if the language and timezone work for you, the excellent and diverse meeting content is free and you can register to listen in real-time at this webpage. Well done to the IACMAC organizers!

Second, our colleagues at the Longitude Prize (https://longitudeprize.org/) have released AMR Voices, a first-hand look at how the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Covid-19 agendas meet. With stories from the UK, US, South Africa and India, the stories in the report “shines a light on the deep interconnections between AMR and COVID-19.” You can download the report here and I’ll provide two brief excerpts to give you a flavor (emphasis is mine):

  • On page 19, Abdul Ghafur says, ““They are two devils working together. Covid-19 kills patients and AMR helps Covid-19 to kill patients.”
  • On page 21, Vanessa Carter says, “… just as no-one understood Covid-19 a year ago, with a bit of effort, education and empowerment is achievable. Teach the public about AMR in the same way that they have been educated about Covid-19 and change can happen in a matter of months.”

Finally, the G20 held a virtual Leader’s Summit 21-22 Nov 2020. Out of this, we have a declaration from the G20 Health Ministers (see full declaration here) that includes the following encouraging statements that show that AMR remains on the G20 agenda:

  • Item #40 (in full)
    • “We renew our commitments on AMR, building on previous G20 presidencies and reiterate the importance of combatting AMR as a global threat through a One Health approach.
    • “We recognize the ongoing financial and institutional challenges affecting research and development of new antimicrobials, alternative therapies, diagnostics including rapid tests and vaccines, and commit to enhancing action to address these challenges.
    • “We also recognize the need to ensure sustainable  production and a secure supply of existing antimicrobials.”
  • Item #43 (excerpted): “We look forward for the UN high-level dialogue on AMR in New York that is planned to take place in due course.”
  • Item #47 (in full):
    • “We acknowledge the information gathered at the roundtable on economic incentives for addressing AMR hosted this year by the G20 Saudi presidency.
    • “We acknowledge the contributions of governments and inter-governmental bodies that culminated in the landscape analysis.
    • “Additionally, we highlight the urgent need for global and multi-sectoral action to ensure sustainable investment in research and development for new antimicrobials while maintaining the supply and clinical value of existing ones.”

It is so good to see this variety of actions at local and global levels! All best wishes, –jr

John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Operating Partner, Advent Life Sciences. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future: https://amr.solutions/blog/. All opinions are my own.

Current funding opportunities (most current list is here):

  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) opens on October 22, 2020. This program provides no cost support for companies planning to apply for a Phase II, Fast Track, or Direct-to-Phase II SBIR or STTR Award. Go here for details.
  • Novo REPAIR Impact Fund closed its most recent round on 31 Jul 2020. Go here for current details.
  • CARB-X recently announced that their existing resources will be reserved to fund their existing portfolio (75 total awards, and counting and they conclude contracting on prior rounds), including future options on those awards. New rounds from CARB-X will occur only after new funding is obtained in 2021.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes funders and projects by geography, stage, and more.
  • It’s not a funder, but AiCuris’ AiCubator offers incubator support to very early stage projects. Read more about it here.
  • ARLG (Antibiotic Resistance Leadership Group, link) is currently open for applications for its 2-year ARLG Fellowship program. The application deadline is 1 Dec 2020; full details are here.
  • Finally, you might also be interested in the most current lists of R&D incentives (link) and priority pathogens (link)

Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community (most current list is here):

  • 18-24 Nov 2020 (everywhere): World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. For resources, go here for WHO’s home page for the week. The focus will be on two messages: “Antimicrobials: handle with care” and “United to preserve antimicrobials.”
  • 25 Nov 2020 (online, 3-4p CET): Webinar sponsored by the Impact for Breakfast Club (IFB) entitled “Antimicrobial Resistance as a Global Health Security Crisis – and Investment Opportunity.” IFB is an informal group of investors seeking to achieve social impact through their work. Go here for full details and to register.
  • 2 Dec 2020 (online, 3 sessions spanning 5am-5.15p GMT): Global AMR Hub-sponsored conference entitled “Translating AMR R&D mapping into policy and action.” Go here for the full program
    • 5-7.15a GMT: “Identifying research gaps to address antimicrobial resistance relevant to the Asia Pacific Region”
    • Noon-2.15p GMT: Filling AMR R&D gaps in animal health at country, regional and global level
    • 3p-5.15p GMT: Working together to fill AMR R&D gaps – collaboration and partnerships
  • 3 Dec 2020 (online, 9-10:30a CET; 5-6:30p KST): Multi-sponsored webinar entitled “Evidence to Action – Advancing the Antimicrobial Resistance agenda during a pandemic.” Go here to register. Co-hosted by the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), the International Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Solutions (ICARS), and the Embassy of Denmark in Korea, this webinar includes Dame Sally, Hanan Balkhy (WHO), and the Minster of Health from both South Korea and Denmark! 
  • 26-28 Jan 2021 (online, runs ~7.30a-5.00p Central each day): 4th Annual Texas Medical Center Antimicrobial Resistance and Stewardship Conference. Sponsored by McGovern Medical School, ARLG, and the Gulf Coast Consortia, the agenda includes both poster sessions and keynotes. The call for abstracts closes 18 Dec 2020. Go here for more details.
  • 10-12 Mar 2021 (Stellenbosch, South Africa): The University of Cape Town’s H3D Research Centre will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a symposium covering the Centre’s research on Malaria, TB, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and AMR. Go here to register; abstract deadline is 15 Nov 2020.
  • 9-12 Jul 2021 (Vienna): Annual ECCMID meeting (#31)
  • 18-21 May 2021 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Save-the-date announcement is here, details to follow.
  • 20-24 June 2021 (Toronto): International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD-12). Go here for details.
  • 3-7 Jun 2021 (Anaheim), ASM Microbe 2021. Go here for details.
  • 27 Jun-2 Jul 2021 (Ventura, CA): Gordon Research Conference entitled “Antimicrobial Peptides”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 26-27 Jun Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.
  • 5-21 Aug 2021 (Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA): Residential course entitled “Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis.” This 2-week intensive training program has run annually for many years and gets outstanding reviews. Go here for details.
  • 8-11 Oct 2021 (Aberdeen, Scotland): 10th Trends in Medical Mycology. Go here for details.
  • 16-24 Oct 2021 (Annecy, France): Interdisciplinary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe). This is a soup-to-nuts residential course on antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and antibiotic R&D. The course is very intense, very detailed, and gets rave reviews. Registration is here and is limited to 40 students. Bonus feature: For obvious reasons, the course didn’t happen in 2020! But as a celebration of the course’s 5th year, a webinar version was held on 29 Oct 2020: go here to stream it. 
  • 6-11 Mar 2022 (Il Ciocco, Tuscany): Gordon Research Conference entitled “New Antibacterial Discovery and Development”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 5-6 Mar Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.


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