Canada is represented in JPIAMR by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) through the Institute of Infection and Immunity (III). As the initiating country and a major funder for JPIAMR, III staff has a place on the Management Board as well as Call Steering Group and has provided input to the call text as well as the generation of an MOU and design of the application and peer review processes. CIHR has previous experience of collaboration on other JPI and ERA-NET programs.
Established in 2000, CIHR is the Government of Canada’s premier health research funding agency, promoting a problem-based, multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to health research. CIHR supports health research in four broad areas: biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; and the social, cultural and environmental factors that affect the health of populations. The mandate of CIHR is “to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge, and its translation into improved health for Canadians, more effective health services and products and a strengthened Canadian health care system”.
The Institute of Infection and Immunity is one of the thirteen virtual institutes of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Institute is located at the University of Laval in Quebec City under the leadership of the current Scientific Director, Dr. Marc Ouellette. III has a mandate to support research to enhance immune-mediated health and to reduce the burden of infectious disease, immune-mediated disease and allergy through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support systems and palliation. The III mandate transcends disciplines and encompasses all four health research themes: biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; and social, cultural and environmental factors that affect the health of populations.
Antibiotic resistance is recognized internationally as an emerging health crisis that threatens to undermine our ability to control bacterial infections. The complacency generated by the success of antibiotics has led to their widespread overuse and misuse, accelerating the generation of multi-drug resistance. Antibiotic resistance is increasingly impacting on every aspect of health care, including neonatal care, transplantation, and cancer-care, as well as on international travel and humanitarian missions. There is a real possibility that without global intervention we could return to a pre-antibiotic era in which relatively minor infections become lethal. Concomitant with the rising tide of resistance is the lack of new antibiotics currently in the drug development pipeline. There is an urgent need to incentivize industry and promote the kinds of public-private partnerships necessary to generate new diagnostics and effective therapies.
CIHR has made substantial investments in discovery research focused on antibiotic resistance and III has supported several targeted initiatives in the areas of drug development, alternative therapies, combination approaches and infection control. Canada’s interest in JPIAMR stems from a desire to combine the resources, infrastructures, and expertise of many countries to provide a value-added, collaborative approach that will fast track the development of effective solutions to antibiotic resistance.