October 23, 2021

Researchers Studying Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Scientists at Duke Medicine and UC San Francisco (UCSF) are going to oversee a nationwide research program about antibacterial resistance. The study will focus on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and E. coli. The federal grant is from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

AntibioticsResearchers will manage a clinical research agenda about antibacterial resistance, which has been identified as one of the leading threats to human health. Dr. Vance Fowler Jr., professor of medicine at Duke and one of the two principal investigators said, “antibacterial resistance is an incredibly complex problem because of a convergence of issues: a dwindling pipeline of new products to treat infections, and a growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

NIAID also created the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group, which will “identify, prioritize, execute, and disseminate clinical research on antibiotic resistance.” Proposals for research projects will be reviewed and funded based on how that research matches up with NIAID’s priorities.

Food Poisoning Bulletin has been covering the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in our food supply for a long time. This problem is growing, as factory farms use antibiotics in a non therapeutic way to improve growth, and as bacteria evolve in response to these drugs.

The research will focus on gram-negative bacteria, such as E. coli, gram-positive bacteria, such as MRSA, stewardship and infection control, and devices and diagnostics. Dr. Henry Chambers, professor of medicine at UCSF and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center said, “for most bacterial infections, our diagnostic strategies are still fundamentally the same as they were 100 years ago. We’re still isolating, culturing, and identifying bacteria that have been grown from a clinical sample. Reducing the time to knowledge would have the dual benefit of improving care for individual patients, but on a broader scale can serve to reduce the need for unnecessary antibiotics.”


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