The UK government is to invest £210 million to increase international surveillance of drug-resistant bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), where bacteria cannot be effectively treated with antibiotics, is linked to 1.3 million deaths per year worldwide. The funding, from the UK’s aid budget, will support surveillance efforts in the 25 countries most affected by AMR.

UK health secretary Steve Barclay announced the funding at a G20 meeting for health ministers in India. ‘Antimicrobial resistance is a silent killer which poses a significant threat to people’s health around the world and in the UK,’ said Barclay.

‘It’s vital it is stopped in its tracks and this record funding will allow countries most at risk to tackle it and prevent it from taking more lives across the world, ultimately making us safer at home,’ he added.

The funding will support the Fleming Fund, a UK aid programme focused on tackling AMR in low- and middle- income countries. The money will enable 20,000 training sessions for laboratory workers, pharmacists and hospital staff. Funds will also be used to upgrade more than 250 laboratories and provide new genome sequencing technology that can help to track bacterial transmission.