Solutions to Drug-Resistant Infections (SDRI)

Posted by on 14 April 2017 | Comments

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Hi everyone!  So, they’ve handed the ASM Comms Ambassador reigns over to me again…Since we’re already well acquainted* I thought I’d just jump right into telling you about the recent SDRI conference held in sunny Brisbane!

From 3-5 April Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was host to a few hundred delegates discussing solutions to drug-resistant infections.  While we often hear about the looming public health crises resulting from an increase in drug-resistant pathogens and a lull in new drug discovery, we often do not get to hear discussions on solutions to the problem.  The SDRI 2017 conference was an opportunity to discuss and hear about progress, new directions, funding and technical assistance, and the science that may tackle the growing threat.

The conference attracted diverse speakers from around the globe and included Prof Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer of England), Prof John Rex (Chief Strategy Officer, Carb-X), Dr Jennifer Leeds (Head of Antibacterial Discovery, Novartis), Prof Joe Pogliano (UC San Diego), Dr Zuoyu Xu (NIAID, NIH), Prof Anne Kelso (CEO, NHMRC), among many others. 


SDRI Highlights


·         Let’s avoid the 10M/yr deaths that could rise from antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (Peter Hoj, VC of UQ).

·         What would our lives be like if it were dangerous to have a C-section, a hip replacement, gonorrhoea, or a UTI? (Sally Davies, CMO of England) .

·         Over prescribing is a problem: For example, last year 23% of antibiotics in hospitals were inappropriately prescribed, higher in other sectors (Brendan Murphy, CMO of Australia).

·         Agricultural and aquacultural practices are a large problem: For example, farmers in India use ~6 antibiotics in chickens, including gentamycin (up to just before death) and colistin (Jason Gale, Bloomberg News).

·         Antibiotics are making it into the environment, water, and food supply (and back to humans): For example, a study in China showed a very large number of children testing positive to antibiotics in their urine...despite no recent clinical use (Jason Gale, Bloomberg News).

·         There is a need to engage social sciences and look at social and behavioural change (SDRI Panel).

·         Good public health practices needed: too often antibiotics are replacing good infection control (Prof Ramanan Laxminarayan, CDDEP).

·         There are a number of places you can seek assistance for drug development and AMR research including: the US’s NIH (NIAID), Carb-X, CO-ADD, EU/Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnerships, EU Commission/EIB InnovFund Infectious Diseases loans…and more.

·         Researchers are screening diverse natural, semi-synthetic and synthetic compounds (including high throughput screens of compound libraries) with early promise – sometimes promise is demonstrated in vitro, other times in animal models, and others reaching clinical trials. 

·         Many different approaches are being taken to study potential drugs, drug targets and their mechanisms of action.  For example, using dyes together with bacterial cell morphology was shown by one research group to be very effective at predicting the mechanism of action of known and new drugs.

·         Others are looking at alternatives to traditional antibiotics drug discovery methods.  For example: phages, antivirulence factors, biofilm dispersers, new beta-lactamase inhibitors (including for NDM1), repurposing old drugs, probiotics, even using honey.



During the conference I had the pleasure of presenting a poster of my research to date, and live tweeting for the ASM on @AUSSOCMIC.  You can find highlights from me and others on Twitter by searching the hashtag #SDRI2017.  You can also visit the conference website at for details of the event.



*If you’re dying to know who I am, you can see my intro post from last year: ; visit my ResearchGate profile: ; or say hi on Twitter: @greenepidemic.


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