New projects aim to identify new solutions to combat antimicrobial-resistant infections

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis will lead projects aimed at identifying new solutions to help prevent antimicrobial-resistant infections and their spread.

They are among scientists from nearly 30 organizations in 50 countries awarded a total of $22 million by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance and other infection-related threats to health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $22 million to nearly 30 organizations in 50 countries for efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance and other infection-related threats to health. Part of that funding will support 11 short-term research projects aimed at identifying new solutions to help prevent antimicrobial-resistant infections and their spread, including two such projects led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

One project, co-led by infectious diseases specialists David Warren, MD, professor of medicine, and Sumanth Gandra, MD, associate professor of medicine, involves conducting surveillance for superbugs - carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) - in two hospital intensive care units in India.

According to the CDC, such bacteria are resistant to nearly all existing antibiotics, and about half of patients in intensive care units who contract bloodstream infections from CRE die. Enterobacterales is a large family of bacteria that includes E. coli, Klebsiella and Enterobacter.

In India, CRE is commonly found in health-care facilities, but it is resource intensive for health-care facilities to monitor this threat. The researchers aim to find an effective and sustainable way to implement screening for CRE in hospital systems in low- and middle-income countries where resources are limited. This research is important because creating a robust way to screen for CRE in low- and middle-income countries will provide data needed to inform infection prevention efforts and help health-care facilities reduce death rates caused by these infections.

A second project, co-led by Gautam Dantas, PhD, and Carey-Ann Burnham, PhD, both professors of pathology & immunology, involves studying multidrug-resistant organisms in hospitalized patients in Pakistan.

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