GW4 researchers lead international team to investigate the spread of antimicrobial resistance

November 21, 2022

A GW4 led international antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research community has been awarded £50K by the global coordinator the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) to investigate the spread of antimicrobial resistance by exploring how the resistance genes spread on plasmids.

The funding announcement coincides with the World Health Organisation (WHO) World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (18-24th November). The WHO cites AMR as one of the most significant risks facing the world and this year’s theme is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together’.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is spreading rapidly across the globe, and much of this is driven by plasmids harbouring AMR genes. The ability of AMR plasmids to transfer independently presents a serious challenge for epidemiologists attempting to monitor the prevalence and spread of AMR.

This collaborative network called Tools for the Epidemiology of AMR Plasmids, One-Health Transmission and Surveillance (TEAPOTS) aims to establish generic standards and tools for AMR plasmid epidemiology and enhanced surveillance.

The award builds on the recent GW4 Generator Award funding awarded to the GW4 AMR Plasmid Epidemiology and Surveillance collaborative research and innovation community and the application was supported by the GW4 AMR Alliance – a One Health AMR research consortium at the GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter to tackle the global threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The network is led by Professor Ed Feil from the University of Bath and current chair of the GW4 AMR Alliance Steering Group. The project consists of 24 researchers in total from ten different countries, including GW4 colleagues from Bristol and Bath.

Professor Feil said: “The rise of antimicrobial resistance presents an increasing public health, and economic, burden on a global scale. I am delighted to receive this funding from JPIAMR to further develop the research initiated by our recent GW4 research community, which focused on managing the spread of antimicrobial resistance by exploring how the genes spread on plasmids between different bacterial strains, different ecological settings, and different geographical regions.

“This network places an emphasis on Early Career Researcher (ECR) training and stakeholder engagement, and I look forward to continuing working with my GW4 colleagues as well as other experts and stakeholders across the globe as part of this research project.”

GW4 Alliance Director, Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE said: “It is fantastic to see GW4 backed research and innovation projects go onto secure external funding to expand and develop such crucial research. The proposal was supported by the GW4 AMR Alliance with the JPIAMR funding call highlighted during an AMR Alliance meeting and valuable advice provided by members”.

“The GW4 AMR Alliance demonstrates the power of interdisciplinary collaborative research and is working to become the UK’s leading interdisciplinary ‘One Health’ AMR research consortium, recognised worldwide.”

JPIAMR is a global collaborative organisation which engages 29 nations and the European Commission with the aim to curb antimicrobial resistance, using a One Health approach.

Find out more about the GW4 AMR Alliance.