Identification of bacterial infections and antibiotic resistance in low income countries by rapid optical DNA mapping
Antibiotic resistance is one of the main threats to global health. The situation is particularly alarming in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) since surveillance systems and easy-to-use tools for monitoring are lacking. The goal of this project is to use Optical DNA Mapping (ODM) as a genetic tool in LMICs. ODM is a method for coarse genetic analysis of bacteria that identifies the bacteria and reveals the resistance genes they are carrying. The method will be implemented at the neonatal ward at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We have selected this setting for several reasons. First of all, Tanzania is one of many LMICs where simple microscopes are used in the clinical setting to diagnose tuberculosis. We will in this project repurpose these microscopes for ODM, which means that there is no extra cost for infrastructure. Second, we selected neonates because these patients are the most sensitive to resistant infections and have a high mortality. We therefore believe that any intervention that will result from this project will have immediate impact regarding decreased mortality. The project includes development of the ODM assay in Sweden, including adaptation to simple microscopy, a screen for resistant bacteria at the neonatal ward at MNH, teaching of staff at MNH in handling the ODM technique and finally implementation of ODM in routine testing in the neonatal ward at MNH.
Fredrik Westerlund (contact)
Professor at Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology
Swedish Research Council (VR)
Funding Chalmers participation during 2020–2022