Published: 09 March 2017

Tackling antimicrobial resistance in animals

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) inhibits the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections and it is now being widely debated and recognised as a growing threat to global public health.

Emerging pathogens and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are two global challenges facing veterinary and human health. One of the major issues associated with the emergence of AMR is the use of antibiotics that are not targeted at the right bacteria. If the pathogens and AMR can be diagnosed at the point of care, either pen-side or patient-side, the correct antibiotics can be prescribed, thus reducing the overuse or misuse of antibiotics. One such test is a novel sensitive molecular test that can be undertaken at a single temperature to amplify target regions of a pathogen’s genome, known as a LAMP test. These tests are low cost, easy to perform and can be undertaken in field or clinic conditions, and the University has pioneered and developed the first LAMP test for surgical site infections in dogs and cats.

Researchers in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey have developed these tests with the FPR and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for multiple pathogens. These include bacteria, parasites and viruses that cause significant disease such as MRSA, Ascaris, Hepatitis E and E. coli in domestic animals and also, in some cases, humans. The first of these new tests are already in regular use in clinical scenarios to diagnose surgical site infections and for peri-operative screening of dogs and cats.

Bringing together vets, scientists and engineers to address a significant One Health problem, the test is providing rapid point-of-care diagnostics and contributing to the appropriate and accurate usage of antibiotics in veterinary care, thus reducing the potential development of antibiotic resistance.

To find out more about the research at Surrey’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

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