International Team Gathered to Fight Superbug Outbreaks

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Researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia are leading an international effort to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant that can cause severe skin infections, pneumonia and even death.

What’s the Problem?

August 9, 2016 – UQ last month launched the Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) to strengthen global responses to antimicrobial resistance, gathering leading scientists and clinicians in intensive care, infectious diseases, biostatistics and clinical trials from over 10 countries.

“World health authorities estimate 10 million deaths a year will be caused by antimicrobial resistant superbugs by 2050, compared to 8.2 million from cancer,” said UQ School of Medicine and Pharmacy Professor Jason Roberts. “Our research aims to slow this dire trajectory and buy more time for researchers developing new antimicrobials, a process which takes at least 13 years. The situation is urgent – increasingly we are seeing patients infected with bacteria that are resistant to all our antimicrobials.”

Roberts said resistant superbugs, such as the CRE, must be battled on multiple fronts, including closer monitoring and better use of existing antibiotics. This is particularly important in difficult-to-treat cases and at-risk groups, according to Roberts.

The goal of the Centre for Research Excellence is for experts in basic, clinical and translational science to collaborate and generate new approaches to treating patients, which can then be shared with physicians around the globe. The centre links Australian research leaders with their counterparts in other countries to streamline the translation of evidence-based research findings into clinical practice. Roberts said the centre also hopes to train large numbers of new researchers, in addition to medical and pharmacy interns and undergraduates in antimicrobial practice.

“We will also be working to develop international capacity by fostering post-graduate and post-doctoral fellow research,” he said.

The Centre for Research Excellence is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and will use research facilities at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Herston campus.

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