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20 Aug 2019

ARC awards $5m to establish Research Hub tackling antimicrobial resistance

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has established a $5million Research Hub to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to be led by the Kirby Institute.

The ARC Research Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance will take on the challenge of AMR in Australia through a world-first partnership between industry, researchers (including the Doherty Institute) and end users.

Part of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Research Hubs initiative, the Antimicrobial Resistance Hub will be supplemented with an additional $3.8million from biotech company SpeeDx and other partner organisations.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem globally. Bacteria, viruses, and some parasites are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials, posing a serious threat to human health. Antibiotic overuse combined with an inadequate pipeline for diagnostic technologies and new drugs has led to this development.

The Hub will focus on sexually transmitted microorganisms, which is a critical area of concern in Australia and our region, as an example of the wider problem of antimicrobial resistance.

University of Melbourne Associate Professor Deborah Williamson, Deputy Director of the Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory at the Doherty Institute is one of the investigators of the Hub.

She recently authored a piece for the Medical Journal of Australia calling for more collaborative systems to combat the rising challenge of AMR in health care facilities and the community.

More than 20 organisations are part of the ARC Antimicrobial Resistance Hub which will establish Australia as a global leader by providing highly integrated diagnostic and pharmaceutical solutions to AMR.

The highly collaborative Hub brings together:

5 Australian universities; UNSW, UQ, Monash, UTS and University of Melbourne through the Doherty Institute.

9 industry and partner organisations: SpeeDx Pty Ltd, Cepheid, Recce Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Opal Biosciences Ltd, Boulos and Cooper Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, The Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN) and NPS MedicineWise.

7 other collaborating organisations: Murdoch Children's Research Institute, WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexually Transmitted Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic, Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Goroka (PNGIMR), and Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre.