Antibacterial resistance is becoming an increasingly pressing problem in hospitals around the world. More and more species of bacteria are developing resistances to commonly used antibiotics, forcing an antibacterial arms race that often results in the death of patients.
For instance, the bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii poses a mounting problem in health institutions around the globe. It generally affects only those whose immune systems are already compromised, often in situations where patients require ventilators or catheters. It can live on surfaces for days, and can be passed between people. Worse, it’s resistant to most antibiotics. Understanding how antibiotic resistance develops and is transferred from reproducing bacteria is key to helping the fight against multidrug-resistant organisms.
PATRIC (PAThosystems Resource Integration Center) is an online resource for scientists, clinicians, and microbiologists. Members of PATRIC at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute are seeking to give global assistance in this arms race by giving workshops around the world on how to use the PATRIC resource.
At the end of June, Research Assistant Professor Rebecca Wattam traveled to China and gave workshops for officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing and the Institute of Antibiotics at Fudan University in Shanghai. The workshops gave instructions on how to use PATRIC as a resource in the identification and fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Rebecca Wattam demonstrates PATRIC's capabilities at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Participating in the workshops were officials from China CDC, Peking University People’s Hospital, NIAID Office in China, and the U.S. CDC – Beijing. In Shanghai, a seminar called, “Bacterial Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Drug Development,” was held for faculty and students at the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Well over a hundred people participated in both workshops.
"The opportunity to interact with Chinese scientists actually working with antibiotic resistant organisms could prove to be invaluable for the PATRIC project and possibly provide extremely valuable to scientists in the United States and around the world," said Wattam.
This, in tandem with discussions of hospital-acquired infections and the particular challenges China faces against increasingly antiobiotic-resistant bacteria, should give Chinese clinicians powerful tools in fighting the global issue of particularly virulent strains of bacteria.