Development of a Swiss surveillance database for molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistant pathogens
Third-party funded project
Project title Development of a Swiss surveillance database for molecular epidemiology of multi-drug resistant pathogens
Principal Investigator(s) Egli, Adrian
Co-Investigator(s) Blanc, Dominique
Xenarios, Ioannis
Neher, Richard
Schrenzel, Jacques
Perreten, Vincent
Greub, Gilbert
Organisation / Research unit Departement Biomedizin / Applied Microbiology Research (Egli)
Project start 01.01.2018
Probable end 31.12.2020
Status Active


Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacterial pathogens clearly pose an important challenge to our society at multiple levels: in humans, MDR pathogens are increasingly detected and associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health care costs. Similarly, in veterinary medicine, MDR bacteria lead to a high economic burden and constitute a reservoir for dangerous zoonoses representing a serious public health concern. The spread of many bacterial pathogens is complex, and understanding the most imprtant routes of transmission is a precondition for effective countermeasures. A better understanding of transmission events and dynamics between compartments (animals and humans) would be a critical guide to containment. We anticipate that a shared surveillance database between human and vertinary medicine coupled to state-of-the-art automated phylogenetic analysis will enable a more complete and detailed surveillance of MDR pathogens and actionable results for public health policy.


Objective of the project:

The main goal is to connect human and veterinary micrbiology laboratories through a shared framework for near real-time molecular epidemiology of MDR bacterial pathogens, which will allow to perform transmission and outbreak surveillance between different species and the environment.


Specific aims include:

- Implementation of an active surveillance system using MRSA as a proof-of-concept, which can be expanded to many other one-health related MDR pathogens.

- Continuous development of a highly flexible surveillance tool, which allows to incorporate molecular epidemiological data from whole genome sequencing (WGS) and imprtant metadata information.

- Development of a semi-automated modelling tool to assess transmission rates between geographic locations, hospitals, communities, and species over time and space.

- Preparation for expansion with different other species including carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriacea

- Connection to international databases for global surveillance


Keywords Multi-drug resistant pathogens, antibiotic resistance, whole genome sequencing, transmission, molecular epidemiology, pathogen modelling
Financed by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

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