22nd November 2021

Initiated in 1999, BSAC’s flagship Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Programme amassed a collection of almost 100,000 isolates from a range of clinically significant species, which provided many benefits to the research community and industry sponsors alike.

Following the closure of the programme in 2020, BSAC was determined to gift the isolate collection to an organisation that would make use of this unique, longitudinal surveillance, to help support the needs of today’s AMR challenges.

We are pleased to announce that the collection will be housed in the University of Dundee in collaboration with the University of St Andrews. Both universities are at the forefront of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research, with international experts working on sequencing, diagnostics, vaccine development and therapies such as new antibiotics, combination therapy and repurposing of antimicrobial agents, as Dr Benjamin Parcell, Consultant in Microbiology at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, explains:

“The BSAC collection will be of great interest to scientists and clinicians, and we aim to continue to build the collection with local bacterial isolates and significant isolates from the Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratories (SMiRL), Glasgow. Antimicrobial resistance is both an important and rapidly evolving area. By utilising new and emerging research tools, further important insights on AMR can continue to be found within this unique and valuable collection.”

Diane Cassidy from the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine, who played a key role in the relocation of the collection to its new home, explains her feelings towards the project:

“I am totally humbled by the enormity of the project that BSAC undertook. It took me and a colleague five days to transfer part of the collection, so we had a first-hand appreciation of the time and effort that had gone into gathering the isolates. I could not help feeling totally in awe of the efforts and input from so many different people involved in collecting samples from many patients and from multiple sites over the last 25 years into this hugely valuable repository of microbiological history which I am sure will excite microbiologists worldwide for many years to come.

“I am so excited by the projects that the collection can support in terms of future research using advancements in techniques such as next-generation sequencing to study how different microbes have mutated at a genetic level and how this information can be used to make predictions that could provide insights into health care management in the future..”

BSAC Trustees are delighted that the Antimicrobial Respiratory and Bacteraemia Collection has found a new custodian. This collection represents decades of work by the Society, its members’, sentinel laboratory staff and industry partners, providing an invaluable resource to researchers, past, present and future.

Tracey Guise, BSAC’s CEO, said:

“While it was a difficult decision to close the Resistance Surveillance Programme, we are pleased to have ‘passed the torch’ to our friends at the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews, ensuring that the collection will be preserved for and accessible to future generations of scientists working to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobial agents and stem antimicrobial resistance.”

 

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