Current Newsletter

 

This week’s AMR Centre Newsletter was compiled by Elisa Vecchione, the Economic, Social and Political Sciences Disciplinary Head.

Spotlight

The first Global call to action on AMR was hosted in Berlin last week on the 12 and 13 October 2017. National governments and multilateral institutions met together with the civil society, private and philanthropic sectors with the objective of accelerating action to stop AMR spread. The conference entitled ‘A Global Call for Action on Drug-Resistant Infections’ was sponsored by Wellcome Trust in partnership with the UK, Thai and Ghanaian governments and the UN Foundation (https://wellcome.ac.uk/news/global-call-action-drug-resistant-infections). Its objective was to support the work of the Antimicrobial Resistance Inter-Agency Coordination Group (IACG) co- chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Director General of the World Health Organization.

The conference addressed many important issues, including equitable access to antibiotics, integration between AMR goals and sustainable development goals (SDGs), plans to overhaul the vaccine and alternative markets for AMR, diagnostics innovation and tools. Emphasis was put on knowledge collaboration and idea sharing, inter-sectoral coordination and common definition of metrics for tracking progress, among other issues. Progress. Indeed, not an easy issue to measure. Metrics of AMR spread span different sectors, activities, and stakeholders responsibilities. Moreover, not every sector, activity or stakeholder contribute in the same way to the problem of – and solution to – AMR. To name just one issue, access and consumption of antibiotics is not homogenous across countries, with high variations between industrialized and developing countries. Also data availability is not homogenous and this has an important impact on the ability to produce meaningful metrics for measuring local and global progress on AMR.

In this complex panorama, however, there was space for welcoming an important initiative of the Access to Medicine Foundation. Jayasree K. Iyer, Executive Director, presented the AMR Benchmark methodology developed by the Foundation for mapping existing pharmaceutical initiative on AMR and tracking their development against the consensus on where progress should be made. The AMR Benchmark has the potential to ‘blaze a new trail’ in the fight again AMR. The objective is to provide a public tool – and a catalyser – for companies, governments, investors, NGOs and others seeking to deepen industry engagement in curbing AMR, namely by identifying innovative approaches and best practices, highlighting where companies and other stakeholders can take action together, and pointing toward where new ideas are needed. Indicators are developed across three areas where companies can be expected to contribute, namely Research & Development, Manufacturing & Production, and Appropriate Access & Stewardship. However, as a critical note, the process of expert consultation for the AMR Benchmark did not involve stakeholders from low and middle income countries. As benchmarks define desirable situations, their definition is never a purely technical matter; in fact, values and interests are always involved in this process, as technical situations affect sectors, countries and individuals in different ways. Benchmarks set standards of desirability and along with them, also the terms for debating how to reach pre-established goals. In connection to this, indicators work in the same direction of associating technical ‘evaluation’ to public ‘valuation’ of what the next action should be. The use of the AMR benchmark will not only definite situation of success and failure, but will also shape the morality of specific actions within pre-established normative frameworks.

Events: LSHTM

CRD Upgrading
Towards an understanding of antibiotic use in swine production systems in Thailand
Angkana Sommanustweechai, 17 October 2017 (13:00), LG08, Keppel Street

Seminar
A Framework for Dissecting and Applying Bacterial Antibiotic Responses
Hannah Meredith, 7 November 2017 (12:30-14:00), John Snow B, Keppel Street

The AMR Centre hosts lunchtime seminar series
Seminars will be held on the first Tuesday of each month at 12:30.
Please visit the Events page on our website for more information.

Suggestions for speakers from any discipline and institution are most welcome! Contact Centre directors and/or management team members.

Missed a seminar?

Recordings of some of our past seminars can be accessed through the links below:

Special event: Film and panel discussion | The Third Man: How are we entwined with anti-microbials today?

Doors open at 5:00 pm 

Set in postwar Vienna, Austria, The Third Manstars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a writer of pulp Westerns, who arrives penniless as a guest of his childhood chum Harry Lime (Orson Welles), only to find him dead! This award-winning 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene, is widely considered the best British film of the 20thcentury, and might still have lessons for us today.

Panel discussion from 7:20 – 8:00 pm

The panel will discuss (a) how the film depicts the roles of antimicrobials in society after they had so recently been mass-produced; (b) how this has changed today; and (c) how the roles of antimicrobials has spread and gained traction across the world.

Reception from 8 pm in the South Courtyard Cafe

Details
Date: Friday, 17 November 2017 from 17:30 to 20:30 (GMT)
Venue: John Snow Lecture Theatre, Keppel Street

Admission

Free to attend but registration is required. Please register using the link below.
Register

Co-hosted by AMR Centre and AMIS Hub

News: External

Improving prescription of antibiotics
A group of researchers at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health has finalized their study looking at ways to improve the prescribing of antibiotics. The study has produced the first website of its kind to enable health professionals, patients and the public to easily explore patterns of prescribing nationally, in Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and by individual GP practices. Access to NHS GP-level prescribing data is a great improvement for increasing transparency in drug prescription and improving monitoring of current trends in antibiotic use. However, the website gives access to prescription for any drug – and not only antibiotics. In a moment in which the NHS is under public distress and dissatisfaction, tensions and defiance is rising between alternative views of medicine, treatments and approaches to individual and public health, we may want to be cautious and critical about the effects that the use of the website will eventually have in the hands of different stakeholders.
You can access the website here https://openprescribing.net/

Call for papers: Palgrave Communications
Anti-biosis? – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Microbe-Human Relations. The requirement to find therapeutic alternatives, to develop more targeted therapies, to reduce unnecessary medicinal dependencies, all pose social, cultural and economic challenges, as the impetus to tackle antimicrobial resistance is differentially taken up – or imposed – and reconfigured across diverse scientific and biomedical establishments as well as governance regimes and cultures worldwide. The editorial team invite papers which address cultural, social, economic, and technical ramifications of microbe-human relations in the light of recent challenges to antimicrobial security. Article proposals should be submitted to the editorial team by 20 December 2017.

A look at innovative ideas

The AMR market lounges – when interdisciplinary thinking meets the market mechanism.
With the idea of an efficient market where exchanges occur between people able to engage in them, the market lounges represent a first experiment for building an effective match between minds with different knowledge and experience in the fields of AMR. AMR market lounges are based on dynamic round table discussions that will help individuals to progressively self-selecting themselves into the group that best suits their ideas and objectives. Registrations are open for the next dates available,  19th of October and 15th of November. http://bsac.org.uk/amr-market-lounges/

ResistoMap – a mapping of the genetic determinants of resistance to antibiotics
A group of researcher at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have created a web-based interactive visualization of the presence of genetic determinants conferring resistance to antibiotics, biocides and heavy metals in human gut microbiota. This map displays the data on more than 1500 published gut metagenomes of world populations including both healthy subjects and patients. For now the map includes sixteen countries, mainly from Europe, but not UK. It sparks however an interesting line of study of AMR, based on the assessment of relative abundance of AR genes in human microbiota and the localized projection for the onset of resistant pathogens based on the capacity of microbiota to contribute to it. The map can be freely accessed here http://resistomap.rcpcm.org/. The explanation of it can be found here https://academic.oup.com/bioinformatics/article/doi/10.1093/bioinformatics/btx134/3069860/ResistoMap-online-visualization-of-human-gut

Events: External

59 November 2017, Baltimore, Maryland – American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene 66th annual meeting is a five-day conference designed for researchers, government and public health officials, students and all health care providers working in the fields of tropical medicine, hygiene and global health. Registration opens 15 June.

1516 November 2017, Gothenburg. The Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research, CARe, is running a symposium on ‘Ethics and Value Challenges in Antibiotic Resistance Management, Policy and Research’ which will attempt to tackle some of the ethics and value conflicts at the centre of the AMR challenge.

20 November 2017 – The Learned Society Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance (LeSPAR) will convene a one-day interdisciplinary workshop for early career researchers to explore the barriers and opportunities facing the development of rapid diagnostics for infectious disease. The day will include invited talks and two panel discussions, as well as an interactive networking activity.

7–8 December 2017, BCEC, Birmingham. 12th Antibiotic Resistance and Mechanisms Workshop for Researchers. The workshop will offer members of the UK community researching mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance the opportunity to meet to consolidate and extend the expertise held within individual laboratories. It will provide a much needed forum to allow the sharing of knowledge between all grades of researchers, including PhD students and technicians.

Publications: LSHTM

Do chain pharmacies perform better than independent pharmacies? Evidence from a standardised patient study of the management of childhood diarrhoea and suspected tuberculosis in urban India
Miller R, Goodman C.
BMJ Glob Health. 2017 Sep 22;2(3). PubMed

Effect of maternally-derived anti-protein and anti-capsular IgG antibodies on the rate of acquisition of nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococcus in newborns
Ojal J, Goldblatt D, Tigoi C, Scott JAG.
Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Aug 17. PubMed

Please visit our website for a full list of publications.

Publications: External

Spread of multidrug-resistant high-risk Klebsiella pneumoniae clones in a tertiary hospital from southern Brazil
Gonçalves GB, Furlan JPR, Vespero EC, Pelisson M, Stehling EG, Pitondo-Silva A
Infect Genet Evol. 2017 Oct 9. PubMed

Reversion of antibiotic resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by spiroisoxazoline SMARt-420
Blondiaux N, Moune M, Desroses M, Frita R, Flipo M, Mathys V, Soetaert K, Kiass M, Delorme V, Djaout K, Trebosc V, Kemmer C, Wintjens R, Wohlkönig A, Antoine R, Huot L, Hot D, Coscolla M, Feldmann J, Gagneux S, Locht C, Brodin P, Gitzinger M, Déprez B, Willand N, Baulard AR.
Science. 2017 Mar 17;355(6330):1206-1211. PubMed

Funding opportunities

1. LSHTM are recruiting, both in the UK and globally, Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors across a range of research areas including AMR. Applications are welcome from colleagues across disciplines, with expertise from novel antibiotic design and epidemiology to prevention and control, social science and economics. See the LSTHM website for more information.

2. BSAC: AMR Market Lounges – Registration open
The AMR Market Lounges will provide a unique opportunity to provide the solutions to the challenges you are facing. Based on the key recommendations from the 2016 O’Neill Review, this matchmaking process, of which delegates are matched via a pre-lounge questionnaire, will accelerate solutions whilst strengthening relationships across the AMR field. Each delegate will be grouped with their peers and participate in a series of short, sharp and focused 10 minute conversations with solution providers whilst being asked to critique each provider and evaluate the benefit to themselves and wider AMR challenges. Following each conversation delegates will move to another table and once again engage.

3. Call for expressions of interest – Fleming Fund TAG
The Fleming Fund is seeking expressions of interest to join their technical advisory group (TAG). Read more on the AMR Centre website.

4. Antimicrobial Target Discovery and Validation
There is a £4m call under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This call has two stages, an Expression of Interest (EOI) followed by an invitation to submit a full application.  As the capabilities required to address antimicrobial target validation and drug discovery cover multiple disciplines, including basic bacteriology, computational biology, chemical biology etc., it is expected that successful collaborative proposals will draw on expertise across these disciplines. Closing Date: 3 November 2017 (16:00 GMT).

5. Joint Pump-Priming Awards for AMR and Insect Pest Resistance in Agriculture with Brazil
BBSRC in the UK and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil are pleased to announce a joint Newton Fund call for collaborative research proposals focussing on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and insect pest resistance in agriculture. Although this call is being managed by BBSRC, all disciplines are welcomed to consider how they might address the aims of the call. Closing Date: 6 December 2017 (16:00 GMT).

6. UK-Vietnam Partnerships for Infectious Disease Research Call
The UK Medical Research Council (MRC), and Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology are pleased to invite research proposals for the UK-Vietnam Partnership on Infectious Disease Research, through the Newton Fund. This initiative will provide funding for high-quality collaborative research projects focused on Infectious Diseases. Closing Date: 12 December 2017 (16:00 GMT).

Please contact the Strategic Research Office for help and advice on applying for funding.