New networks to increase knowledge about antibiotic resistance
Four research networks have been awarded grants to find new solutions and share methods that can slow down the development of antibiotic resistance. The support is a targeted initiative within the National research programme on antibiotic resistance.
At the beginning of November, the Swedish Research Council made a decision in the call for network grant within the infection area: knowledge gaps within antimicrobial resistance. Four networks will receive a total of 600 000 SEK each during two years, to coordinate research questions, share and use data and research infrastructure, and for collaboration and knowledge exchange between healthcare and research. It is a new type of funding instrument, which was initiated under the National research programme on antibiotic resistance.
“The grant creates new opportunities for researchers and clinicians to create national networks that contribute to better treatment of infections by pre-empting and preventing the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance,” says Patriq Fagerstedt, Programme Manager.
The network gathers together researchers from several universities in Sweden to coordinate research questions and assess knowledge gaps related to antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in primary care.
“This type of network grant is needed to bring together specialists in primary care to study urinary tract infections and respiratory tract infections and resistance. The grant also gives the opportunity to gather together researchers in Sweden in the area, to develop project plans for larger grant applications, based on knowledge gaps and priorities. There are also interesting opportunities for collaboration with the other networks funded under the grant, so that the whole healthcare chain can be studied,” says Katarina Hedin of Region Jönköping, the project leader.
The network includes the infection clinics at university hospitals in Sweden. The network will create an infrastructure to enable rapid trial of treatments of acute infections, and to evaluate interventions to reduce the spread of infections and antibiotic resistance within healthcare. The infrastructure will, in the future, enable Sweden to rapidly test interventions against new infections, such as COVID-19.
“The network may become a platform to extend the collaboration on clinical trials outside of Sweden in cooperation with other existing networks, for example in Denmark, and by taking part in international multi-centre studies,” says Pontus Nauclér, one of the representatives of the Karolinska University Hospital in the network.
The network consists of both ear, nose and throat clinics and healthcare centres in Lund, Stockholm and Umeå, and will be studying why certain patients develop severe, sometimes life-threatening, complications arising from ear inflammation, while most ear inflammations heal by themselves, without antibiotics.
“We still don’t know what the difference is between these patient groups. The network will make it possible to recruit patients within both primary and specialist care to study causes and risk factors,” says Marie Gisselson-Solén at Lund University.
Irfan Ahmad at Umeå University is coordinating the network, which links together several research teams in Umeå and at Karolinska Institutet. The network will be studying the signalling pathways of bacteria, which can contribute to their intrinsic and adaptive drug resistance.
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