From online courses to open-source search engines, here are five useful resources to wrap up World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, an initiative from the World Health Organization which runs yearly from 18th-24th November.
Want to know the key terminology being used in the field of antimicrobial resistance? GARDP (Global Antimicrobial Research and Development Partnership) is a not-for-profit organization launched in 2017 by REVIVE. Their work focuses on developing new treatments for drug-resistant infections with the three aims of facilitating learning, connecting people, and sharing knowledge. This encyclopedia allows people who are working in — or are interested in learning about — the pharmaceutical sphere of antimicrobial resistance. It is great for those who need to know the difference between their ASTs from their INDs (that is Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing and Investigational New Drugs, respectively, for those not-in-the-know). Microbes are evolving at an alarming rate and this field of research is in a constant state of flux. This encyclopedia helps to cut across all the new and, admittedly, at-times confusing scientific jargon.
15 years ago, ReAct was born out of Uppsala University, Sweden, and now consists of a global network of infectious disease specialists based across five continents. ReAct advocates for solutions to antibiotic resistance, engaging different levels of society from the general public to policy-makers. In their online, self-paced course, ReAct covers the key concepts of antibiotic resistance and what actions are needed to counteract this global health threat. Participants will learn throughout the four modules the mechanisms behind the emergence and spread of drug-resistant bacteria as well as gain insight into real-life stories of the impact of these pathogens as told by patients, doctors and other experts. This is a great starting point for those of the general public who are interested in learning more about the science underpinning antibiotic resistance and what preventative measures can be taken.
Are you a health professional who is wanting to deepen their knowledge and practice of antimicrobial stewardship? This online, self-paced course developed by the World Health Organization aims to equip those who prescribe antimicrobials with the tools to improve the use of these essential medicines in their daily clinical practice. This is a 12-hour course that is structured around learning how to implement and adhere to the five core competencies of appropriate antimicrobial prescribing, taking participants through clinical case-based scenarios. This framework allows participants to practice approaching clinical encounters from the perspective of combating antimicrobial resistance, ensuring they can play a role in preserving these vital agents for current and future generations.
For researchers working on drug-resistant microbes, Bitsliced Genomic Signature Index, BIGSI for short, is the Google for sequenced microbial DNA. The amount of sequenced microbial DNA is doubling every two years, creating vast amounts of data with no practical way for researchers to sift through it all – until now. BIGSI allows researchers to easily spot whether, for example, a particular strain of tuberculosis has already been identified, what drugs were used against it, and the ways in which the bacteria responded. This offers unparalleled resolutions for a range of research challenges, including contact tracing, mapping the spread of drug resistance, identifying zoonoses and investigating the biology of infectious diseases.
If you are a community leader wanting to raise public awareness of antimicrobial resistance, particularly in primary or secondary school children, “Beat The Bugs” is a 6-week community hygiene course. Initially funded by Public Health England, the aim of the program is to implement long-lasting behavioural changes in the consumption and use of antimicrobials amongst participants through knowledge sharing. The course is structured into six sessions covering: i.) introduction to microbes, ii.) hand and respiratory hygiene, iii.) food hygiene, iv.) oral hygiene, v.) antibiotics, and vi.) action planning for the future. All the lesson plans and course material that are necessary to deliver the program can be downloaded off of their website, making it easier for you to be an antimicrobial steward within your community.