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Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention

Interview explores alternative strategies to antibiotic prescribing

Published: 31 October 2021
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An article outlines how vital multidisciplinary approaches are to combatting AntiMicrobial Resistance (AMR), focusing on a linked series of projects to find alternatives to prescribing antibiotics.


In 2020 Public Health England has published that AMR infections had risen 5% from the previous year. The Autumn 2021 issue of Hartley News described how the multidisciplinary approach characterised by the University and Global-NAMRIP was leading the way in combating AMR, focusing on the pioneering work of Professor Paul Little in exploring alternative strategies to prescribing antibiotics. In particular, the Germ Defence website had seen success around the world in preventing infection through improved handwashing. Prior to the pandemic, the highly successful Germ Defence website was the only website worldwide provide to reduce infections in the home. In April 2020 the Germ Defence team released an update on COVID-19, which was quickly translated to 27 languages and used in 173 countries to provide information and ideas on how an individual could lower their chances of getting infected by a viral illness. The Germ Defence website project was selected by NIHR in 2020 for prioritisation as an ‘NIHR Urgent Public Health COVID-19 Study’.

Another study led by Professor Little was published in The Lancet, and showed that use of the antibiotic amoxicillin to treat chest infections in children was, in a study population, barely more effective that relieving symptoms than was use of no medication. The publication citation is:

Little, P., Francis, N. A., Stuart, B., O'Reilly, G., Thompson, N., Becque, T., Hay, A. D., Wang, K., Sharland, M., Harnden, A., Yao, G., Raftery, J., Zhu, S., Little, J., Hookham, C., Rowley, K., Euden, J., Harman, K., Coenen, S., Read, R. C., Woods, C., Butler, C. C., Faust, S. N., Leydon, G., Wan, M., Hood, K., Whitehurst, J., Richards-Hall, S., Smith,  P., Thomas, M., M. Moore and Verheij, T. (2021). Antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infection in children presenting in primary care in England (ARTIC PC): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trialLancet (London, England), 398(10309), 1417-1426.

The Germ Defence website can be found here. The project is a collaboration between the Universities of Southampton, Bath and Bristol, and includes contributions from the following people:

Dr Ben Ainsworth, Study lead, University of Bath
Prof Richard Amlot, Public Health England
Jennifer Bostock, Public contributor
Dr Tim Chadborn, Public Health England
Dr James Denison-Day, Technical developer, University of Southampton
Prof Nick Francis, University of Southampton
Carole Fry, Public Health England
Dr Natalie Gold, Public Health England
Dr Mio X Hu, University of Southampton
Prof Paul Little, University of Southampton
Sascha Miller, Website content developer, University of Southampton
Prof Michael Moore, University of Southampton
Dr Kate Morton, Public research coordinator, University of Southampton
Cathy Rice, Public contributor
Lauren Towler, Stakeholder coordinator, University of Southampton
Dr Merlin Wilcox, University of Southampton
Prof Lucy Yardley, Study Director, University of Bristol and University of Southampton


The Hartley news article
The Hartley news article
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