Hub investigators have been awarded funding to help build a network of researchers in South Asia skilled in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) detection. Antimicrobial resistance is, according to the World Health Organization, one of the top 10 threats to global health.
Led by Professor Ayona Silva-Fletcher of the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), UK, the expert network will be the result of a collaborative capacity-building project between One Health Poultry Hub partners RVC (Hub lead), and Anand Agricultural University (AAU) and Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre, both in Gujarat, India. It is funded under the BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Training Awards for Research Skills (GCRF-STARS) initiative.
The project will create and deliver training programmes for researchers from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka to become expert in monitoring and investigating AMR, using techniques from basic antimicrobial susceptibility testing to molecular diagnostic methods.
Ayona Silva-Fletcher said:
The growing prevalence of AMR requires accurate and rapid diagnostic methods to confirm phenotypic testing in surveillance studies and to understand the mechanisms responsible for development of AMR. Although many microbiology laboratories in South Asian countries have the capability to do phenotypic testing of AMR bacteria, they are unable to carry out resistance gene analysis and molecular diagnostics because of a lack of knowledge, skills and resources.
This project will give training in the theoretical aspects of advanced molecular diagnostics followed by hands-on practical learning of the necessary skills. An online course taken by participants at their home or workplace will precede the practical training course held at AAU. This mixed model of training delivery will ensure its sustainability, with the online element made available to train other under and post-graduate students and made available in the future for wider dissemination.
Other Hub partners will contribute to the training, through development and review of the online course and face-to-face practical training course at AAU. They are: Dr Mohammed Samad, a recognised expert in AMR in poultry value chains; Dr Ruwani Kalupahana, who sits on the AMR National Committee in Sri Lanka; Dr Professor Sunetra Gupta, who will offer her expertise on epidemiological/ mathematical modelling on AMR; Dr Ludovic Pelligand, expert on veterinary drugs and AMR; Professor Patricia Conway, expert on microbial diversity in the chicken using next-generation sequencing, whole genome and metagenomics; and Dr Richard Stabler, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine AMR Centre