The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) will lead a cross-council initiative to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in all areas.

The initiative will work to identify common characteristics of AMR in humans, as well as farm and wild animals to find new treatments.

Scientists will also be investigating how to track the extent of AMR in different environments.

Backed by eight government bodies and the Wellcome Trust, the initiative will coordinate the work of medical researchers, biologists, engineers, vets, economists, social scientists, mathematicians and designers, in a multi-pronged approach to address all aspects of the multi-faceted problem.

"This is about tackling the problem at every level and in every environment, from labs to livestock, from finding new diagnostic tools to educating professionals and the public."

The seven UK research councils that will collaborate on the ever-growing problem of AMR include Arts and Humanities Research Council, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Medical Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Science and Technology Facilities Council.

MRC said that £275m was spent in the UK alone since 2007 on researching the problem, but no effective solutions have been found until now. It has been estimated that current antibiotics will be all but useless within the next 20 years.

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UK Universities and Science Minister of State Greg Clark said: "This unique collaboration involving all seven research councils will help to drive forward important advances in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

"The united strategy announced today will provide a more coordinated approach to research gathering by bringing together leading cross-industry experts against what is one of today’s greatest scientific problems."

To identify key research priorities, MRC had held workshops in 2013. These have been grouped into four separate themes and two calls for research proposals are now open, the deadline is 2 September.

MRC CEO Sir John Savill said: "Researchers have been waging a war on AMR for decades but up until now we’ve had no war cabinet to coordinate research on all fronts.

"This is about tackling the problem at every level and in every environment, from labs to livestock, from finding new diagnostic tools to educating professionals and the public.

"One hundred years ago 25% of all deaths were due to bacterial infection. We cannot return to those days."