05:35pm Wednesday 01 April 2020

Concerted action to fight resistance to antibiotics

Humans and animals are largely susceptible to the same pathogenic viruses and bacteria. This is why we need a cocerted effort from multiple actors to fight infectious diseases. This is what lies behind the ‘‘One Health” initiative in Uppsala.

– We want to gather the leading researchers about antibiotics resistance and contagion and explore the possibilities of funding in collaboration with industry and international groups. Together we make Uppsala competitive, says Mats Larhed, professor at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Acting Vice-Rector.

Uppsala already hosts several established networks on infectious diseases. Intensive research is underway within IEEN, which unites ecology and epidemiology. The global REACT network, which disseminates knowledge about antibiotics resistance and contagion is headquartered in Uppsala. The RAPID network addresses drug development and is creating new antibiotics that also work on resistant bacteria.

All of these networks are now being gathered under ‘‘One Health,” with the slogan ‘‘Fighting Infection for Society and Health.” SLU and the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) are also behind the initiative.

Preventing, fighting, and curing infectious diseases is a major challenge in today’s global society, where infections spread more rapidly than in the past.

– A new world is emerging, where we need more knowledge about how antibiotics resistance spreads. Today we know that a great deal of resistance is spread outside the human body, so we also need an ecological perspective, says Mats Larhed.

In 2011, for example, joint classes were introduced in the programmes for medicine and veterinary medicine in Uppsala. It’s a unique initiative that has attracted a great deal of attention from other universities. The background is that paths of contagion for many infectious diseases are the same for humans and animals and that their health should therefore be taken up in a shared context.

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