Subject: AMR eNews - Winter 2021

AMR eNews - Winter 2021
antimicrobial resistance
research & policy

global headlines

Superbugs have an arsenal of defences — but researchers have found a new way around them

We established a way to revert antibiotic-resistance in one of the most dangerous superbugs." —Fernando Gordillo-Altamirano & Jeremy J. Barr, Monash University
The Conversation: With the alarming rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and a lack of new antibiotics, researchers are revisiting phage therapy. This has led to a new discovery that could give a second wind to antibiotics that otherwise face resistance. This groundbreaking new research shows that bacteria that become phage-resistant may lose their resistance to antibiotics in the process. This study highlights the possibility of using phages to rescue antibiotics. 

Antibiotic Resistance: A Matter of Time

"It's not an imaginary projection that things are going to get worse — we know that's going to happen. But because we know that's going to happen, we also know how we can slow it down. Everyone has their part to play. We have the option to do something about it." —Dr Anna Aryee, UCL
Financial Times: In the future, even cuts can have fatal consequences, with drug-resistant infections killing 10 million people a year. Is this just a projection? The Financial Times travels through time with artist Nina Dunn to see how we can stop the next global health crisis. The answer? Mobilizing individuals, doctors, scientists, and, yes, governments and policymakers, too. The solutions are scientific, but they are also economic and societal, so we need a collective effort.
watch »

Antibiotic resistance may spread even more easily than expected

“These results could imply that there is a robust network for transferring plasmids between bacteria in humans, animals, plants, soil, aquatic environments, and industries." —Jan Zrimec, Researcher at Chalmers University
Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden): Pathogenic bacteria in humans are developing resistance to antibiotics much faster than expected. Now, computational research from Chalmers University of Technology shows that one reason could be significant genetic transfer between bacteria in our ecosystems and bacteria in humans. This research, published in MicrobiologyOpen, has also led to new tools for AMR researchers.
canadian responses

Official House of Commons petition calls upon the Canadian Government to provide updates about the Pan-Canadian Action Plan on AMR

"Without an urgent response, common infections and minor injuries will once again take lives and cause significant harm to Canada’s health system and economy."
House of Commons: A Pan-Canadian Action Plan is critically needed to drive new programs and funding in infection prevention and control, stewardship, surveillance, research, and innovation to address the rising rate of resistance in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has created greater urgency around an Action Plan, to ensure Canada’s public health system is ready to address rates of AMR that are expected to accelerate in the COVID and post-COVID environment.

Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Canada: A Special Report

"Reducing barriers in regulatory approval, actively considering AMR in formulating drug reimbursement recommendations, and audit and feedback of novel antibiotic use are all strategies without a cost component that could help optimize use and innovation of novel antibiotics."
As a follow-up to a listening session held with Canadian pharmacists last year, this report explores the current "pain points" concerning the use of antimicrobial stewardship in the hospital setting and the state of collaboration across the Canadian pharmacy community. As well, it examines the incentive policies that exist in other jurisdictions and suggests how they may be relevant in Canada. 

Authored by Jessica Bartoszko and Kara Tsang, in partnership with CAIN, the report delves into the many antimicrobial-related challenges faced by pharmacists in Canada, both in hospital and community settings. Some such challenges include approval processes, inaccessibility, transitioning patients from the hospital to the community, and a lack of collaboration.

Some key takeaways from the listening session include dialogue around current limitations, suggestions for overcoming the challenges created by the extensive costs associated with novel antibiotics, and options for potentially fixing the current inadequacy of the antibiotic pipeline.

Canadian Antimicrobial Innovation Coalition (CAIC) struck to protect Canadians from the rise of AMR

“CAIC aims to facilitate necessary dialogue and collaboration between relevant partners, such as regulators, public policymakers, researchers, and manufacturers.
The Canadian Antimicrobial Innovation Coalition is an alliance between Canada’s key players in the biomedical innovation industry and experts from research-based organizations. The Coalition aims to engage the public, the health sector, and government in strategies to help protect Canadians from the dangerous rise of AMR. Its mandate is to position Canada as a leader in AMR research, product development, and investment.

McMaster’s ‘Global Nexus’ connects researchers to avoid future global health threats

“The Global Nexus idea is incredibly ambitious, but I think it’s exactly where we need to go to be able to solve what we call wicked problems — very complex, multifactorial problems." —Gerry Wright, Scientific Director at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University
Global News: In the hopes of averting future pandemics, Hamilton’s McMaster University is connecting a number of top infectious disease experts — some of whom are CAIN members — to prevent global health threats like antimicrobial resistance. The Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats will work to ensure Canada is better prepared to manage the human and economic devastation of resistance and other infectious disease outbreaks.

New AMR podcast series launches in partnership with CAIN

“A podcast dedicated to raising awareness about antimicrobial resistance in Canada."
Conversations Podcast: To celebrate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, CAIN helped launch a new podcast dedicated to raising awareness about AMR. Hosted by CAIN member Lori Burrows, the first season features 'Conversations' with a physician, a researcher, a patient advocate, an industry leader, and a public health official. All five episodes are available on YouTube. Subscribe to the channel to be notified when future episodes are published. 
learning resources
The Council of Canadian Academies (2019): When Antibiotics Fail
G20 (Prepared by OECD, WHO, FAO and OIE) (2017): Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance - Ensuring Sustainable R&D
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019): Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019
Jim O'Neill, Commissioned by the UK Prime Minister (2016): 
Tackling Drug-resistant Infections Globally: Report & Recommendations

reports & publications
Antibiofilm peptides: overcoming biofilm-related treatment failure

Royal Society of Chemistry: Antibiotic resistance has largely been attributed to genetic changes, but the role and recalcitrance of biofilms, due to growth state dependent adaptive resistance, is becoming increasingly appreciated.
Thiopeptides: antibiotics with unique chemical structures

The Journal of Antibiotics: Thiopeptides are a class of natural product antibiotics with diverse structures and functions. They have intrigued researchers since their discovery, but not a single thiopeptide has been approved for human use.
Governing antimicrobial resistance: a narrative review of governance

Journal of Public Health Policy: To identify common ground for more coordinated global actions against AMR, researchers conducted a narrative review of dominant ideas and academic debates about AMR governance.
A two-pronged attack on antibiotic-resistant microbes

Nature: Isoprenoid molecules are essential in many disease-causing microorganisms, and intermediates made during their synthesis trigger immune-defence responses. Immunoantibiotics exploit this dual vulnerability.
who we are

The Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network (CAIN) is a consortium of over 80 leaders, researchers, clinicians, and policymakers from Canadian universities, companies, governments, and not-for-profit organizations committed to addressing the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). CAIN members span human and animal health sectors, reflecting the fact that AMR is a One Health issue.

Stay up to date regarding the latest news in AMR research and policy.

The Canadian Anti-infective Innovation Network (CAIN) AMR eNews is proudly sponsored by the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery (DBCAD)For all communications, including any questions, comments, or suggestions that you may have regarding the AMR newsletter, please contact DBCAD Communications Officer Blake Dillon at
The Canadian Anti-infective
Innovation Network (CAIN)

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC

The David Braley Centre for
Antibiotic Discovery
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario

The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario

McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4)
McGill University

Montreal, Quebec

McMaster University, 1280 Main St W, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L8, Canada
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