Research to identify antibiotic resistance genes in the environment



Associate Professor Luis Pedro Coelho from QUT’s School of Biomedical Sciences Microbiome Research Center has received $510,187.65 from the National Health and Medical Research Council as part of the International Collaborative Program Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance.

  • A $5 million grant will be provided by NHMRC as part of the Collaborative Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance.
  • The project aims to provide an early warning system for the threat of antimicrobial resistance
  • Monitoring new antibiotic resistance genes and their potential for transmission to pathogens

Professor Coelho’s research project is the Australian arm of the A$3.2 million “Exploratory Surveillance for Emerging Antimicrobial Resistance Through Characterization of Unknown Environmental Resistances.” The organization is an international consortium developing early warning systems for emerging antimicrobial resistance threats.

He said antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is already a major health care challenge that, if left unmanaged, could cause millions of deaths and billions of dollars in health care costs annually in just a few decades. He said there is.

“Currently we are unable to detect new forms of resistant bacteria, hampering prevention efforts,” Professor Coelho said.

“This is a big problem because any newly emerging form of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will not pose a significant threat to human health until these antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are already prevalent in pathogenic bacteria. Because you hardly know what could happen.

“This makes it difficult to use surveillance to proactively identify emerging risks.”

This project aims to characterize emerging ARGs in the environment so that they can be incorporated into AMR surveillance and detection before they become a clinical problem.

“To achieve this, we will:

  • Develop computational methods to determine the mobility and transmission potential of new ARGs to pathogens
  • Developing a computational artificial intelligence-based approach to find early warning indicators for emerging ARGs
  • Sample location at the human-animal-environment interface using cutting-edge approaches such as long reads and functional metagenomics
  • Provides resources to integrate emerging ARGs into routine AMR surveillance.
  • Improve AMR monitoring protocols and enable faster updates with new ARGs.

Professor Coelho said: “Assessing the spread and risk of antimicrobial resistance can help develop surveillance systems to prevent pathogen infections, maintain the effectiveness of antibiotics, and protect human health.” Ta.

The project will employ postdocs and graduate students and collaborate with groups in Sweden, Germany, France, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Professor Coelho, from the QUT School of Biomedical Sciences, was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship worth $979,500 earlier this year.

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