The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded a $13.7 million, five-year grant to a team of researchers to investigate multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs) in nursing homes throughout the United States.
The multidisciplinary research team includes CUNY Graduate School of Public Health (CUNY SPH) Professor Bruce Y. Lee and is led by University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine infectious diseases expert Dr. Susan Huang.
Using one of the world's largest compilations of specimens from healthcare facilities, the team will study six antibiotic-resistant organisms deemed as serious and urgent national health threats. It is the first time all six organisms will be investigated using multiple scientific methods at the same time.
Dr. Lee and his team will use computer simulation models to track the spread and impact of MDROs in various nursing homes and different types of prevention and control policies and interventions.
"Multidrug resistant organisms have been a major growing threat throughout our country's healthcare systems," says Dr. Lee. "Nursing homes are key to combating this threat because they are connected to hospitals and other healthcare facilities via patient sharing and have residents who are highly susceptible to MDRO infections interacting in close quarters with each other."
More than half (65%) of the 1.4 million people living in nursing homes in the U.S. are estimated to harbor MDROs, four-to-six times that seen in hospitals. In spite of this, nursing homes remain understudied and effective interventions are needed.
The researchers will study over 16,000 MDRO isolates from 50 nursing homes to elucidate the best detection methods for MDROs, key sources and drivers of MDRO spread, major risk factors associated with colonization, infection and hospitalization and high-yield interventions to inform infection prevention policies to reduce adverse health outcomes due to MDROs in nursing homes.
The six MDROs include five bacteria and one fungus. These are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producers (ESBL), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii (CRAB) and Candida auris.
The national team of grant investigators includes notable experts in infectious diseases, epidemiology, microbiology, pathogen genomics, human microbiome, statistics, systems science, health economics and mathematical modeling. Doctors Huang and Lee are joined by colleagues from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, UMass Amherst and the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Lee is Professor of Health Policy and Management at CUNY SPH and executive director of the Center for Advanced Technology and Communication in Health (CATCH).