Research Stories

Dreaming Big to Prevent a Post-Antibiotic World

Dr. Dao Nguyen in lab

Dr. Dao Nguyen

Modern medicine is built on the ability to control infections. Procedures like surgery or chemotherapy are only possible because we are able to prevent and control infections. However, bacterial and viral infections are increasingly becoming drug-resistant. An eye-opening statistic: 20-30 percent of bacteria are currently drug-resistant. These alarming numbers highlight just how important research and innovation are to treating and preventing antibiotic-resistant infections.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health. Doctors, researchers and clinicians are now planning for a post-antibiotic world. And that reality is coming much sooner than we think. By 2050, more people will die from drug-resistant organisms than from cancer. World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a WHO initiative taking place from November 18-24 2020, with a goal of sensitizing the public to the threat of infectious diseases and preventing the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.

“If we can’t control infections during a surgery like a hip replacement, it means a patient wouldn’t have a functional hip anymore or that doctors wouldn’t be able to replace a hip for a patient in need.” says Dr. Dao Nguyen, clinician-scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC).

Dr. Dao Nguyen is a clinician-scientist at the RI-MUHC and a researcher with the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) . Her big dream is to create an Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre, a multidisciplinary project that would bring together researchers, physicians and clinicians from different fields to work towards preventing a post-antibiotic world. A world without effective antibiotics could mean treatments become more complicated, longer, or some that may not work at all.

“Let’s say you accidentally cut yourself. Right now, you can get treatment from a topical cream or take antibiotic pills to cure the infection in a few days,” says Dr. Nguyen. “With antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it wouldn’t be treated as easily and the infection could spread requiring an amputation.”

The MUHC Foundation is raising $20 million to launch the Antimicrobial Resistance Centre which would allow researchers to share ideas to identify the most pressing issues and address antibiotic resistance. The AMR Centre will research diagnostics, prevention, innovative projects and educational awareness bringing together the scientific community of the MUHC and elsewhere with the common goal of preventing a post-antibiotic world. By dreaming big and investing in a safer future together, we can change the course of medicine and save lives.

 

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Le Dr Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, un scientifique de MI4 et épidémiologiste à l’Université McGill, a reçu le prix Scientifique de l'année 2020 de Radio-Canada. Cet honneur souligne le projet du Dr Maheu-Giroux avec l’Institut national de santé publique du Québec pour informer le public du taux de transmission de la COVID-19 au Québec. Cet important travail fournit au gouvernement du Québec des données essentielles pour l’aider à prendre des décisions en matière de santé publique et a été rendu possible grâce aux dons de notre communauté au fonds d'urgence pour la COVID-19 de la Fondation du CUSM.

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MI4 scientist & epidemiologist at McGill University, Dr. Mathieu Maheu-Giroux has received Radio-Canada’s 2020 Scientists of the Year Award. This honor highlights Dr. Maheu-Giroux’s project with the Institut national de santé publique du Québec to inform the public of Quebec’s COVID-19 transmission rate. This important work is providing the Quebec government with critical data to help make public health decisions and is made possible thanks to our community’s donations to the MUHC Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
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This Sunday on Health Matters: Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre cardiologist, Dr. Nadia Giannetti and Dr. Don Sheppard, infectious disease specialist, will answer your health questions live. Do you have a question about heart health, COVID-19 or the vaccines? Post in the comments below ⬇ or send us a direct message! And tune in to CJAD 800 Montreal live at 12pm on January 17th. ... See MoreSee Less

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We are proud to support this innovative project through our COVID-19 Emergency Fund!Saliva sampling should be considered as an alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to a new study by a group of researchers at the RI-MUHC and McGill University. Researchers found that the sensitivity of saliva vs nasopharyngeal swab samples was virtually identical. “Nasopharyngeal swabs are very sensitive, but they are time-consuming and require a trained health professional to administer. Saliva-based samples are as sensitive and much cheaper, while having the advantage of being self-collected. This removes the need for a trained health professional and reduces exposure risk,” explains the corresponding author of the study, Jonathon Campbell, a postdoctoral fellow at the RI-MUHC.

Read more on our website: bit.ly/2K9qZuf
Read the original article in the Annals of Internal Medicine: www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-6569

This work was supported by the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4) with seed funding from the Fondation CUSM - MUHC Foundation.
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