Antimicrobial resistance – Aarhus University leads the way in Europe
The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) challenge is a fact. At an exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels in November 2017, researchers from Aarhus University gave a status of the research within the field and presented their suggestions for possible future solutions to the problem.
The inappropriate use of antibiotics in the agricultural and health sectors has caused an increased occurrence of resistant bacteria. The health of humans and animals is interrelated, and environment and social structures are also important factors. Several research disciplines at Aarhus University are stepping up their efforts to address the resistance problems by an interdisciplinary cooperation.
Exhibition showed the latest AMR research
The European Parliament is very aware of the AMR field and opened the doors for Aarhus University to host an interesting exhibition of AMR "Interdisciplinary Antimicrobial Resistance Research: Local and Global Knowledge Gaps". Researchers from the departments of Animal Science, Biomedicine, Environmental Science and Anthropology contributed with their most recent knowledge and research within the topic which interests many citizens and politicians and in general receives great attention from society.
What do you know about AMR? Listen to the researchers
- UNDERSTAND the social production of AMR (video)
- RETHINK Antimicrobials (video)
- OVERCOME Antimicrobial Resistance in Farm Animals (video)
Researchers from Department of Animal Science contributed to the exhibition
The researchers Mette Vaarst, Charlotte Lauridsen and Tina Sørensen Dalgaard from Department of Animal Science contributed with pictures, posters and videos. Furthermore, Mette Vaarst participated in a panel debate.
The university cooperates with NGOs
Aarhus University, Central Denmark.eu and Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament cooperated on the exhibition which demonstrated the university's achievements in the field. Christel Schaldemose, MEP, opened the exhibition, and several parliamentarians visited and had good discussions with the researchers.
Department of Animal Science continues the AMR research
The exhibition was in line with both the Horizon 2020 programme, which e.g. focuses on resistance, and the Danish Veterinary Agreement III, which focuses on healthy animals.
According to Charlotte Lauridsen and Mette Vaarst, an interdisciplinary cooperation is important in order to change anything, and several AMR projects are in the pipeline in the interdisciplinary network at Aarhus University.
The researchers in Department of Animal Science are working on reducing the large consumption of antibiotics and zinc in the farmed animal production. These products are used e.g. to handle post-weaning diarrhoea in piglets. There are various methods of reducing the use of antibiotics and zinc. Development of vaccination strategies is one. Another is to strengthen the robustness of the animals by means of nutrition strategies which may influence the gastrointestinal flora and thus strengthen the animals' immune response to pathogenic bacteria. The researchers also address the genetics, as some pigs are especially susceptible to pathogenic bacteria. The department has some of these specific genotypes (E. Coli susceptible pigs) and poultry lines at its disposal. They have been developed for specific studies on the animals' immune response.
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