A joint effort to confront the challenges of rising antimicrobial resistance in Asia

The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Technical University of Denmark's (DTU) National Food Institute announced today a joint effort to strengthen external quality assurance programs for diagnostic laboratories in Asia to confront the challenges of rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the region.

The partnership was established following the award of a Fleming Fund Regional Grant with DTU as the lead grantee and will carry out the project under the name EQASIA (Strengthening External Quality Assurance for AMR in Asia).

It is crucial to address the quality of bacteriology diagnostics at the regional level to ensure generated lab data is accurate and comparable according to international standards.

Although laboratories in the Asian region have made advances locally, the range of differing capacities and limited efforts at regional coordination signal the need for standardized regional external quality assurance (EQA).

Confronting AMR requires high-quality data and regional coordination.

Through EQASIA, the two institutes will map the coverage, availability and uptake of external quality assurance programs across reference laboratories with the overall aim of improving the quality of AMR surveillance data.

Quality-assured data is essential for developing nuanced treatment guidelines and tailored strategies to prevent the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Taking part in EQASIA is an ideal opportunity for us to ensure synergy with, and add impact to, our previous efforts to support AMR surveillance in the Asian region. Assessing the full impact of AMR will require a harmonized effort between data collection and sharing, and regional and global policy-making."

Dr Marianne Holm, Epidemiology & Public Health Research Lead, IVI

Data collection and informed policy-making go hand in hand.

IVI is simultaneously leading two other Fleming Fund projects funded by the UK government to tackle critical gaps in AMR surveillance.

An IVI-led consortium, which includes Brigham and Women's Hospital (WHONET), the Public Health Surveillance Group, and Oxford University's Big Data Institute, launched CAPTURA last year to expand the volume of historical and current data available on AMR and antimicrobial use in Asia.

Additionally, with the award of a Regional Grant for planning, policy and advocacy across the Asian and African regions, IVI is leading a consortium of the same partners engaged in CAPTURA to develop a framework for regional data sharing and analysis that will ultimately influence regional and global policies for sustained commitment to AMR control.

This project, "Regional Antimicrobial resistance Data Analysis for Advocacy, Response and policy" (RADAAR), seeks to catalyze a sustained demand, among decision-makers, for high-quality information sharing and its use in policymaking.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the widespread and growing resistance to antibiotics largely due to frequent and inappropriate use, affects people everywhere, and in 2019 was designated a top 10 threat to global health by the World Health Organization.

With these three AMR projects and a broader portfolio of vaccine programs underway, IVI remains committed to the belief that strong data, better policy, and vaccines will play integral roles in combatting AMR.

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