The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) within a wide spectrum of infectious agents – including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi – is now widely recognised as a major global threat to human health, with the World Health Organization (WHO) listing it as a priority issue of our time. 

The major impact of AMR on the future effective treatment of human infectious diseases means that improved strategies are required for the surveillance, understanding, prevention and treatment of anti-microbial-resistant pathogens.

The Doherty Institute's expertise

The Doherty Institute is addressing the issue of AMR through a broad range of activities and initiatives including reference antimicrobial resistance diagnostic services and resistance surveillance for invasive, enteric and sexually transmitted pathogens. This includes state-of-the-art genomics-based approaches to improve diagnostics, mechanisms and understanding emergence and spread of resistant pathogens.

The Doherty Institute is also home to the Centre of Research Excellence – National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), which studies and aims to improve antibiotic prescribing and usage practices in human and animals across Australia. In addition, researchers at the Doherty Institute are conducting clinical studies in AMR and programs in new antibiotic discovery and development.

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs)

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are recognised as a major cause of morbidity and increased morbidity for hospital patients worldwide.

Patients in hospitals are at increased risk of infection due to underlying conditions and other risk factors such as invasive procedures and exposure to antibiotics. It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 HAIs in Australia each year. National standards for hospital accreditation require hospitals to meet criteria for infection control and prevention, including carrying out surveillance of HAIs.

The Doherty Institute's expertise

The Doherty Institute is home to experts across all aspects of HAIs – from clinical treatment to interventions, surveillance, outbreak management, analysis and reporting at state and national levels. Specifically, the Victorian Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS) aims to reduce the number of infections acquired in acute care public and private Victorian hospitals by monitoring and reporting infection rates.

Victoria has recently seen the emergence of a number of serious multi-resistant organisms in its hospitals, which have previously not been seen in appreciable numbers such as Carbapenemase-resistant Enterobacteriacea (CRE) and Van A VRE.  Doherty Institute staff have been heavily involved in the management and future planning of both state and national responses to these infections and other emerging organisms, which pose a major threat to patient safety.