Lab training during the EQASIA kick-off meeting in Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark with the IVI and DTU teams. Credit: National Food Institute
March 5, 2020, SEOUL, Korea – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Technical University of Denmark’s (DTU) National Food Institute announced today a joint effort to strengthen external quality assurance programs for diagnostic laboratories in Asia to confront the challenges of rising antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the region. The partnership was established following the award of a Fleming Fund Regional Grant with DTU as the lead grantee and will carry out the project under the name EQASIA (Strengthening External Quality Assurance for AMR in Asia).
It is crucial to address the quality of bacteriology diagnostics at the regional level to ensure generated lab data is accurate and comparable according to international standards. Although laboratories in the Asian region have made advances locally, the range of differing capacities and limited efforts at regional coordination signal the need for standardized regional external quality assurance (EQA).
Confronting AMR requires high-quality data and regional coordination.
Through EQASIA, the two institutes will map the coverage, availability and uptake of external quality assurance programs across reference laboratories with the overall aim of improving the quality of AMR surveillance data. Quality-assured data is essential for developing nuanced treatment guidelines and tailored strategies to prevent the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.
“Taking part in EQASIA is an ideal opportunity for us to ensure synergy with, and add impact to, our previous efforts to support AMR surveillance in the Asian region,” said Dr. Marianne Holm, Epidemiology & Public Health Research Lead at IVI. “Assessing the full impact of AMR will require a harmonized effort between data collection and sharing, and regional and global policymaking.”
Data collection and informed policy-making go hand in hand.
IVI is simultaneously leading two other Fleming Fund projects funded by the UK government to tackle critical gaps in AMR surveillance. An IVI-led consortium, which includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital (WHONET), the Public Health Surveillance Group, and Oxford University’s Big Data Institute, launched CAPTURA last year to expand the volume of historical and current data available on AMR and antimicrobial use in Asia.
Additionally, with the award of a Regional Grant for planning, policy and advocacy across the Asian and African regions, IVI is leading a consortium of the same partners engaged in CAPTURA to develop a framework for regional data sharing and analysis that will ultimately influence regional and global policies for sustained commitment to AMR control. This project, “Regional Antimicrobial resistance Data Analysis for Advocacy, Response and policy” (RADAAR), seeks to catalyze a sustained demand, among decision-makers, for high-quality information sharing and its use in policymaking.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the widespread and growing resistance to antibiotics largely due to frequent and inappropriate use, affects people everywhere, and in 2019 was designated a top 10 threat to global health by the World Health Organization. With these three AMR projects and a broader portfolio of vaccine programs underway, IVI remains committed to the belief that strong data, better policy, and vaccines will play integral roles in combatting AMR.
According to the World Health Organization, AMR is one of the biggest threats to global public health; if current trends continue unabated, by 2050 there will be 10 million deaths annually and a yearly cost of $100 trillion dollars*. The 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS) Report argued that putting resources into the containment of AMR – including surveillance – is one of the highest-yield investments a country can make to mitigate its impact.
* Source: Tracking Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: Final Report and Recommendations
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, IVI was the first international organization hosted by Korea. IVI has 35 signatory countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including Korea, Sweden and India as state funders. Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, Group A Strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS-Corona Virus, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int
For more information on CAPTURA and RADAAR consortium partners please visit:
About the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark
The National Food Institute is a leading international reference center for quality assurance in AMR (WHO Collaborating Centre for AMR and Reference Lab for FAO and EU). The genetic epidemiology unit carries out research using whole genome sequencing techniques (WGS) and has also been tasked by the Fleming Fund to establish WGS capacity for AMR surveillance across the African continent. As such, the institute is helping to set the international standard for the detection, surveillance and studies of the global spread of disease-causing microorganism and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
About the Fleming Fund
The Fleming Fund is a £265 million UK aid investment to tackle antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The programme is managed by the UK Department of Health and Social Care, in partnership with Mott MacDonald, the Fleming Fund Grant Management Agent.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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