DETECTIVE: Dissemination and resistance mechanisms of carbapenem-resistant Gram-negative bacilli

Led by Professor Alan McNally, Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, Birmingham researchers are partnering with experts at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Sichuan University in Chengdu, Guangzhou Medical University, and University of Cambridge in a three-year project to explore and address factors behind the rise in antibacterial resistance in China.

Project lead

Image of Alan McNallyProfessor Alan McNally 

Director of Institute of Microbiology and Infection

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The project will create the first multi-site, genome-scale analysis of hospital based transmission and dissemination of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens in Chinese hospitals.Backed by a £1.3 million grant from the UK’s Newton Fund, and equal match funding from the Chinese National Science Funding Council, the China-UK AMR Partnership Hub will build a vital research network of leading Chinese hospitals and world-renowned microbial genomics researchers.

China uses around half the antibiotics consumed world-wide, 48% of which are consumed by humans with the rest used in food-producing animals. The Jim O’Neill Review on Antimicrobial Resistance suggests that AMR could cause a million premature deaths per year by 2050 in China alone.

Professor Alan McNally commented: “The University of Birmingham and Zhejiang University will lead the creation of a large population genome data set that will provide an excellent resource for furthering our understanding of the emergence and evolution of multi-drug resistant pathogens.

“More genomic analysis and bioinformatics skills are needed in China’s hospitals if we are to combat increasing morbidity and mortality associated with MDR bacterial infection among the poorest and weakest members of Chinese society.

“Our data will have a substantial impact on other efforts to tackle antimicrobial resistance in China - for example, investigating the links between veterinary, agricultural and healthcare settings in the (AMR) transmission chain.”

Aims of the project

  • Create a pool of researchers with excellent skills in microbial genomic data analysis, bioinformatics and microbial genomic project design.
  • Investigate how carbapenemase producing Enterobactericeae (CPE) gets into Chinese hospitals and then moves between patients.
  • Combine antimicrobial susceptibility profiles with genomic data to work out how patient susceptibility to AMR infection varies.

Other research group staff members

Principal Investigator: 
Professor Alan McNally BSc PhD – University of Birmingham

Professor Willem van Schaik – University of Birmingham
Professor Mark A Holmes MA, VetMB, PhD, FRCVS – University of Cambridge
Professor Zhiyong Zong – Sichuan University 
Dr Chao Zhuo MD – Guangzhou Medical University
Professor Yunsong Yu – Zhejiang University

Dr Emma Doughty – University of Birmingham
Dr Robert Moran – University of Birmingham
Dr Ibrahim Ba – University of Cambridge 

Contact us

Faaria Hussain, Project Manager: