Professor Dame Sally Davies, UK Envoy for antimicrobial resistance, challenges Liverpool students to address the antibiotic apocalypse, and delivers an impactful lecture on antimicrobial resistance

News article 8 Nov 2022
Dame Sally Davies at the Leggate Theatre

The UK’s Envoy for Microbial Resistance (AMR), Professor Dame Sally Davies, has kicked off LSTM’s 125th anniversary celebrations with an impressive day of thought-provoking activities, focusing on AMR.

With a packed agenda at LSTM, Dame Sally began the day by meeting a group of 39 students from Liverpool schools Maricourt Catholic High School, Savio Salesian College, and Litherland High School. She headed up a workshop, for the young people, which posed the question: It’s 2040, with only 100,00 stocks of antibiotics remaining who do you give them to and why?

Dame Sally discusses AMR with one student group

Students and teachers split into different groups for a lively debate at the workshop, which is the first in a series of events taking place at LSTM, to mark its 125th anniversary.

The teams took on different roles: farmers and veterinarians; patient groups; the healthy general population; and politicians. They debated why their team should take priority for the distribution of the diminishing antibiotic stocks.

Dame Sally’s ‘antibiotic apocalypse’ workshop was supported by a partnership with Everton in the Community, who work with the schools involved. Mick King, Sport and Education Development Manager, Everton Football Club, said: “We are delighted some of our partner schools have taken part in this exciting event to learn about an important subject area. Combining scientific skills and knowledge with real world scenarios is key to the development and understanding of potential career pathways for students. It is fundamental to our own ethos in STEAM education.”

Dame Sally and Dr Adam Roberts, Reader of Antimicrobial Resistance and Chemotherapy at LSTM, supported the groups in their discussions. Students gave considered responses that ranged from giving the antibiotics to the most vulnerable in society, to overseeing effective antimicrobial stewardship that would support research and the development of new drugs.

Sarah Bradley is Curriculum Leader of PSHE and Citizenship at Maricourt Catholic High School and said: "Our students were able to engage well with the topic and problem solve possible solutions to use in response to an actual antibiotic apocalypse. Being able to talk their ideas through with Dame Sally and Dr Chris was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I think that our students will be empowered to think that a career in science is not beyond their grasps.”

Student’s thoughts on the topic:

‘AMR is an important issue that poses a serious threat. It requires strategic thinking and diplomacy’.

‘We need to think carefully about limited items in life - the various aspects and perspectives’

‘There are lots of factors to consider when distributing medicine. Politicians have more to do than you assume.’

In the evening, Dame Sally gave an inspirational lecture at The Leggate Theatre, where she discussed key issues around AMR, calling it a ‘silent pandemic’, and highlighting its impact on global health, our future ability to fight infection, food security, and the environment. Explaining the work, she does with international governments, businesses, and academics to mitigate the fallout from AMR, she offered some hope for the future.

‘Swab and send’ at LSTM

LSTM is asking you to help us identify new antibiotics, a vital part of our arsenal in the fight against growing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Most of the antibiotics we use today come from bacteria and fungi that inhabit the soil. The next antibiotic might come from microbes that live in the back of your cupboard, your bin, or your mobile phone.

If you pledge to buy swabs, as part of LSTM’s ‘swab and send’ initiative, you can swab your spaces and help us hunt for the next antibiotic. Learn more here: Swab & Send  #SWABANDSEND