Following on from the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) meeting in Barcelona, I took part in a meeting in February in Bangalore, India on AMR in Veterinary Infectious Diseases. The meeting was held under the auspices of the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), with the aim of supporting delivery of the global strategy on AMR. It was organized by Professor Utpal Tatu from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, aided by Swati Saxena, the senior science and innovation adviser of the British High Commission in New Delhi. There were five delegates from the UK and several participants from India, covering a wide range of areas. Helminths and anthelmintic resistance were included in the programme and alongside myself, Professor Raman from Chennai gave an excellent overview of the problems associated with anthelmintic resistance in Indian livestock. Prof Raman is a close collaborator of fellow BUG Consortium member Professor Neil Sargison, who was also in India at the same time, but at the Indian Parasitology meeting in Chennai. The Bangalore meeting covered many interesting areas related to AMR, including food hygiene and AMR, antimicrobial stewardship, vaccine production as an alternative to drug therapy, indigenous plant-based therapies, and epidemiological factors determining the spread of resistant microbes.
On the Saturday, the highlight of the meeting was a field trip to a ‘Camp’ in the countryside a couple of hours outside Bangalore, which Prof Tatu has been involved in establishing. Local farmers bring their livestock for diagnosis and treatment by veterinarians.
Given that a recent review in the Lancet Infectious Diseases suggested that the worldwide cost of dealing with the issue of AMR would fall somewhere between the £6 billion of the Large Hadron Collider and the £96 billion of the International Space Station, it is abundantly clear that no one country can tackle the problem in isolation. This was an excellent scoping meeting, which hopefully will lead to further collaborations between UK and India on this important topic.
Following Bangalore, which is in Karnataka, southern India, it was off to Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in the north, to the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) for the 2016 meeting “Current Trends in Drug Discovery and Research”.
This was a wide-ranging meeting covering many aspects of drug discovery and research, from novel approaches to chemical synthesis to the application of new drugs in many different human diseases. The neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) were well represented with interesting talks on novel drugs/approaches for malaria, filariasis and leishmaniasis.
The meeting had a strong cultural theme; it was hosted at the CDRI and all meals, consisting of delicious traditional Indian food, were taken in a large marquee in the grounds. Another large tent in the gardens hosted the poster sessions, where graduate students and young post-docs presented their work. These sessions were of an extremely high standard and speak highly of the training provided at CDRI and other Indian Institutes. We were treated to an impressive cultural evening of music and dance in the local Kathak style. Invited speakers were also presented with a memento of the meeting, while session Chairs received a commemorative medal.