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European Union funds antibiotic resistance network

Research into antimicrobial resistance in Europe is to be co-ordinated by a new network funded under the European Union's research framework programme.

The GRACE (genomics to combat resistance against antibiotics in community-acquired lower respiratory tract infection in Europe) network will bring together 17 academic groups from nine EU member states to share their work and develop better diagnostic tools so that antibiotic use can be improved.

GRACE co-ordinator Herman Goossens, professor of microbiology at the universities of Antwerp, Belgium, and Leiden, the Netherlands, said: “The key to controlling the development of antibiotic resistance is to be able to target antibiotics selectively. Our hope is on new and rapid diagnostics and I speculate that the next decade will witness revolutionary changes in diagnostic bedside testing for infections in the community.”

Jonathan Cooke, director of research and development and clinical director of pharmacy and medicines management, South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust, and a member of the Department of Health’s Specialist Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance, said: “A number of UK researchers are involved in the programme from academic units in the universities of Nottingham, East Anglia, Birmingham, Cardiff, Imperial College, Southampton and Oxford.

“Professor Goossens is a well-known advocate of the rational approach to the use of antimicrobials in order to reduce the burden of resistance in society. His overall thesis was echoed at a recent EU governmental conference into antimicrobial resistance which advocated [that] what prescribers needed were developments in near patient tests that delineated infection from non infection, viral from bacterial [infection] and identified the most effective and costs effective treatments. The establishment of a pan-European network for surveillance and treatment might go some way to addressing the problems of resistance.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10021299

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