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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

New collaboration to combat spread of antimicrobial resistance

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LONDON (CU)_The rapid increase of antimicrobial resistance has prompted researchers across the world the address the issue with urgency. The World Health Organization has classified antimicrobial resistance as one of the top 10 threats facing humanity and the over prescription of antibiotics has often been blamed for antimicrobial resistance.

A new collaboration between universities to study the defense methods of bacterial cells and prevent the transmission between drug-resistant genes is set to get underway. The study will use many new technologies to explore the link between bacterial defense and evolution of “mobile genetic elements” (MGEs), that is crucial for maintaining antimicrobial resistance.

MGEs are DNA components that can migrate from one bacterium to another and alter key traits of bacteria, such as antibiotic resistance and virulence.

A grant of 4.6 million pounds for a 5-year program has been approved from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under the strategic longer and larger grants scheme.

The University of Liverpool is collaborating with the universities of Exeter, Durham, Manchester, Bath, Bristol and St Andrews for the research involving genomics modelling and evaluation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria to examine which defenses act together, which act mutually, what causes synergy, how the activation of various defenses is carried out and how they shape bacteria-MGE activities.

Project lead, Professor Edze Westra from the University of Exeter, stated that the research will extend on the discovery of large diversity of defense systems that frequently co-exist in the same cell and stated that the findings will be crucial for the healthcare, industry and biotech.

“Phages have brought us revolutionary tools for biotechnology. Delving further into the layered interactions of phages and bacteria is a fantastic opportunity for UK science to lead the way exploring new key areas of biology,” said Professor Tim Blower, from Durham University.

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