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Antimicrobial Resistance at University of Oxford_logo_outlined_RGB_COL.png

 

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has provided funding to establish 14 Health Protection Research Units (HPRU) to address key public health threats. The HPRUs are partnerships between Universities and Public Health England forming multi-disciplinary centers of excellence with a focus on collaborations and knowledge sharing.

NIHR HPRU in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance was established at University of Oxford in April 2014 and was renewed in April 2020 for a further 5 years.

Our Key collaborators are

  • The European Bioinformatics Institute
  • University of Leeds
  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
HPRU in Healthcare Associated Infections at Oxford University is led by Professor Sarah Walker who vision is to find better ways to manage and prevent threats from antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections, by detecting them faster, working out who needs protecting most and how this can be done.

 

We plan four broad themes, to

Populations

Better understand who is affected by antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections, and why, including the impact of inequalities and aging, and how we can monitor these conditions. We will do this by combining many different types of ‘big data’ about patients and the microbes that make them ill.

Interventions

Use this information to work out how we can reduce healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance, in ways the NHS can afford and that target those at highest risk. We will explore whether we should use drugs, tests for infections and vaccinations differently; or change the ways healthcare professionals interact with patients, empowering patients to manage their health and antibiotic use better.

Contexts

Understand how healthcare-associated and antimicrobial-resistant infections can be affected by what happens on farms or in both the general and hospital environment.

Sequencing

Work out how to analyse and compare the genetic code of millions of microorganisms causing infections from across the world to find out more about they become resistant to antibiotics, cause epidemics and can be controlled

 

Schematic Of HPRU project.jpg

 

Our HPRU brings together world-leading expertise to deliver a step-change in how we exploit increasingly rich data sources, technologies and theory to improve our response to AMR&HAI and deliver cost-effective, evidence-based, high-quality public health impact. We aim to:

  • Understanding better who is most at-risk from AMR&HAI, particularly in terms of inequalities.
  • Developing and testing interventions to reduce their risks, and assessing how these can be targeted to at-risk populations (personalised approaches)
  • Identifying the contexts in which AMR&HAI proliferate, in order to manage and reduce their influence.
  • Improving software to exploit genetic data from millions of microorganisms, to predict resistance to antibiotics, and to identify transmission.

We will use:

(1)   Traditional and new ways of investigating diseases, e.g. using genetic data and looking for patterns in linked ‘big data’ from microbes and electronic records about patients’ health, regionally and nationally.

(2)   Robust statistical and economic methods

(3)   Detailed modelling, and

(4)   Models of behaviours around health choices.

 

 

We will:

(1)   Bring world-class Oxford researchers with experience in many different areas, including the Big Data Institute and Social Sciences, together with patient representatives and highly-experienced scientists from Public Health England, Leeds University, the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the European Bioinformatics Institute.

(2)   Train junior researchers in the new methods needed to answer these questions and support them to become research leaders

 

Our outcomes include

(1)   Better use of routinely-collected electronic health records to monitor and manage infections, reducing data collection burden for the NHS.

(2)   Better estimates of future trends in antibiotic use, AMR and HAIs, and when we need to change commonly-used antibiotics

(3)   Recognition of important at-risk populations to target with future actions to prevent HAIs, and approaches to use antibiotics better

Comparisons of the potential for AMR to spread through different routes, and strategies to reduce this. 

(4)   New software solutions for managing and analysing large amounts of microorganism sequence data that can be used by public health agencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and even in other countries