Preparing for future disease threats

We are using our vaccines, medicines and scientific know-how to help the world to better prepare for future disease outbreaks with pandemic potential and tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Preparation through innovation

To prepare for future public health emergencies, we continue to advance rapid-response vaccine platform technologies and are collaborating on the development of a universal influenza vaccine candidate. In our Pharmaceuticals pipeline, we are progressing the development of gepotidacin – the first in a new class of antibiotics. Gepotidacin is the result of successful public-private partnerships between GSK, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).

Antimicrobial resistance

Extensive use – and misuse – of antibiotics means that their effectiveness has waned. This is fast becoming a major public health crisis. Without action, up to 10 million people could die from drug-resistant infections every year by 2050.[1]

We are playing a leading role in the industry’s response to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), ranking first among the large pharmaceutical companies in the Access to Medicine Foundation’s AMR Benchmark in 2018.

Using our vaccines to prevent infection

Our vaccines against diseases such as diphtheria, meningitis, pneumonia and pertussis protect tens of millions of people from bacterial infections that would otherwise contribute to direct antibiotic prescribing. In addition, our vaccines for non-bacterial infections such as influenza, rotavirus and malaria prevent the development of diseases that can trigger the use of antibiotics – to treat secondary infections, for example. We are also committed to researching and developing new vaccines against infections that will reduce the need for antibiotics even further. For example, we are currently developing vaccines against RSV (a virus) as well as shigellosis and TB (both caused by bacteria) which are all drivers of current antibiotic use.

Awareness and education

In addition, for more than 15 years we have invested in AMR surveillance, awareness and education programmes. Through our Survey of Antibiotic Resistance (SOAR) programme, we study, analyse and publish reports on antibiotic resistance at a local level and share the findings with healthcare professionals and public health bodies to inform the development of local antibiotic prescribing guidelines. In 2018, this meant we trained over 15,000 healthcare professionals across 20 countries on the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Collaboration

Addressing the challenge of AMR ultimately requires cross-sector collaboration. We have helped to establish the AMR Industry Alliance, a coalition to drive industry progress towards commitments made in the 2016 Davos Declaration and the Industry Roadmap on AMR. We also supported the creation of the Innovative Medicines Initiative’s AMR Accelerator, which launched a call for proposals in 2018. This public-private partnership will aim to speed up the discovery and development of new medicines to treat or prevent resistant bacterial infections through collaboration and capability building. We have also begun a new collaboration with Zhejiang University in China that will focus on tackling AMR through social science research and a campaign to promote the responsible use of antibiotics among young people. As part of a global antibiotic surveillance clinical trial, our Institute for Infectious Diseases and Public Health (IIDPH) in China is also facilitating the first global research on AMR in the country.

1 The 2014 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance