Determining the clinical and environmental impact, burden and cost of Extensively Drug Resistant Enterobacteriaceae in China (DETER-XDRE-CHINA-HUB)

Lead Research Organisation: CARDIFF UNIVERSITY
Department Name: School of Medicine

Abstract

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now deemed to be the biggest global threat facing humanity in the 21C. AMR has taken center stage as a global health issue yet most non-specialists are unaware the impact AMR will have on global populations and the potential it has of taking the treatment of infections back to the "dark ages". Therefore, in keeping with the general notion of "One World Health", there clearly needs to a better alignment of thinking and closer co-operation between countries synergizing activities, knowledge and skills to better understand and prevent AMR.

Hitherto, most studies around the world studying the impact of AMR have been small, one dimensional and often biased - too focused on AMR bacteria as oppose to studying the whole bacterial population. Two years ago, we published an article with our Chinese colleagues heralding the breech of the last antibiotic, colisitin, that is used to treat the very serious infections caused by already resistant bacteria such as Escherichia coli (commonly known as E. coli). The difference with this new discovery is that the mechanism of colistin resistance (named MCR-1) is mobile i.e. can be readily passed around from one bacteria to another - even between distantly related bacteria. This article reached global acclaim and has been cited over 1000 times reflecting its broad impact.

Following on from this discovery and using the same network of Chinese colleagues, hospitals, farming and environmental sectors, we intend to use MCR (MCRPE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (E. coli and E. coli-like bacteria)(CRE) as markers to understand how AMR has spread throughout the Chinese human and animal populations (colistin is used in animal feed in China). Firstly, we have a comprehensive sampling platform: work package (WP) 1, normal flora carriage; WP2, primary and secondary care infections; WP3, chicken, duck and pigs including slaughter houses; WP4, flies and wild birds; WP5, Water, soil and waste; WP6, Aquaculture; and WP7, Domestic animals. Pending the type of sample, we will analyze at least 100 samples every 3/6 months to examine seasonal variation and sample from three distinct provinces in China: Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu; additionally, we will also chose Qinghai as a control region. Bacteria will be analyzed by basic microbiology techniques and selected to be whole genome sequenced where we can interrogate the bacteria's whole DNA and compare it to other bacteria to see if they have spread from one sector (e.g. flies) to another (e.g. humans). This study will also sequence bacteria in the human gut (called the microbiome) to understand the dynamics of AMR bacterial populations. We will also undertake controlled experiments in chicken farms to monitor the spread on CRE and MRCPE and use mathematical models to understand how AMR spreads in animals. Importantly, the Chinese government has recently (2017) withdrawn the antibiotic colistin so this study is very timely in measuring that effect i.e. will withdrawing colistin impact on MCRPE rates in the environment, human gut levels and MCRPE causing human infections?

Unlike previous studies, this study is deliberately holistic in its approach to understand the dynamics and transmission of AMR across a broad range of environmental and human sectors. This study will let us understand the impact of CRE and MCRPE on human populations and the burden and cost to the Chinese health system. It will also help us understand the impact AMR on the chicken, duck and pig trade by using mathematical models. The impact of this study will have immense consequences for the animal, human and economic sectors in China. Our network is well established, high successful and has a proven track record of working together in China and expertise to undertake this exciting and challenging proposal.

Technical Summary

To meet our objectives we have devised three technical platforms supported by comprehensive workpackages (WP) as describe:

Sampling platform. We will sample in Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu and Qinghai, a control region. WPs to support these platforms are: WP1, normal flora carriage ; WP2, primary and secondary care infections; WP3, chicken, duck and pigs including slaughter houses; WP4 flies and wild birds; WP5, Water, soil and waste; WP6, Aquaculture; and WP7, Domestic animals. We will sample every 3-6 months pending on the type and accessibility of the sample and collect and analyze at least 27,720 from Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu. From Qinghai we will collect flies, environmental and human normal flora samples.

Microbiology Platform. Samples will be processed to assess 1. The prevalence of CRE and MCRPE in platform 1 samples and 2, the dominant Enterobacteriaceae isolated from these samples. Microbiology analysis includes bacterial identification by MALDI-TOF MS and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Samples and bacteria will be stored frozen until further required. We will also screen for resistance genes and MLST by PCR and sequencing. This platform will also address specific research questions such as: Why is NDM-5 so prevalent in the Chinese agriculture when carbapenems are not used?

Molecular Platform will include sequencing platforms (WP12) and microbiome analysis (WP13). Sequencing will be primarily done on MiSeq sequencing approx. 2000 isolates. We will use: 1) whole genome mapping analysis: FASTQC, BWA, SAMTOOLS, PICARD, GATK, MUMER, MAUVE, etc. 2) whole genome assembly analysis: VELVET, SOAPdenovo, SPAdes, etc. 3) whole genome annotation: NCBI BLAST, MetaGeneMark, ARDB, CARD, etc. 4) Phylogenetic analysis: Bionumerics, FastTree, BEAST2 etc. Microbe bioinformatics analysis will include SEED, eggNOG, and NCBI non-redundant nucleotide database. For CR genes we will use Kraken - a custom database based on MEGARes.

Planned Impact

Our established UK-China network published the first report on MCR-1 (Liu YY, Wang Y, Walsh TR, et al. Lancet Infect Dis. 2016;16 (2):161-8) and follow up studies of its impact on humans (Wang Y, Tian GB, Zhang R et al., 2017. Lancet infect Dis 17:390-399) and its One-Health dissemination in Chinese communities (Wang Y, Zhang R, Li J et al. Nat Microbiol. 2017. 6;2:16260). Our first article on MCR-1 has been cited over 1000 times and has made a huge impact globally. This article was also the catalyst for in-depth discussions with the Chinese Ministry of Health and, based on our evidence, the Chinese officially banned colistin as a growth-promoter effectively removing 8000 tons of colistin from Chinese agriculture (Walsh TR and Wu Y. Lancet Infect Dis. 2016. 16(10):1102-3). As part of our "pathways to impact" we will continue to have direct links with the Chinese government and thus the impact of DXC-HUB will continue to be considerable.

1. Change of Ministerial policies in China. Our previous studies have already highlighted the need to review the use of antibiotics in China - particularly in agriculture. The evidence provided from DXC-HUB will enable the Chinese government to make increasingly informed decisions to aid the Chinese population in preventing an unstoppable contagion of AMR.
2. Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. Since 2017, China as withdrawn the use of colistin from animal feed in China. Our data will be used by the Chinese government to examine the stability of MCRPE in the Chinese animal sector (farm animals and retail meat), and examine the impact of this on the normal human fecal flora and possibly cause for endogenous infections over the next 3 years to examine the concept of "consumption driving resistance".
3. Chinese Ministry of Health. As China has now has introduced colistin into therapeutic regimes in hospitals, our data on the incidence of CRE (key indicator for colistin therapy) and the prevalence of MCRPE will be used to examine the impact of MCRPE and whether these bacteria are associated with worse outcomes (prolonged hospital stay, severity of infections, morbidity etc.).
4. Chinese Ministry of Education. Our key Co-Is in China (CAU, ZJU, CCDC, CAS) are academically very strong and our network brings together a wealth of synergistic ideas and skills, and will have an immense impact on these institutions. Chinese students will benefit from UK study periods not only further there scientific expertise but also enhancing cultural experiences. Workshops and our AMR symposium will also be an engaging and positive experience for them. Through the NSFC funding, post-graduate students will be employed and the UK team (CU, UoOx and SI, Cambridge) will act as secondary supervisors enhancing their approach to tackling scientific problems.
5. DXC-HUB hospital network. As part of our clinical sampling we have enrolled 9 hospitals - 3 each from Shandong, Guangdong and Jiangsu. Our data will be fed back to the hospitals to allow them to make informed decisions on antimicrobial therapy and infection control practices.
6. Chinese Food production Community. Through our chicken, duck and pig sampling (WP3), flies and birds (WP4), environmental sampling (WP5), and aquaculture (WP6) we will be able to affirm the importance of AMR connectivity in spreading CRE and MCRPE throughout Chinese farming communities.
7. High-impact Journals, World Press and International AMR Bodies. Since our network was established in 2015, we have published over 18 articles - 5 in Lancet and 3 in Nature journals. We will continue to aspire to scientific excellence generating local and international impact.

Publications

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Zhang R (2020) Use of polymyxins in Chinese hospitals. in The Lancet. Infectious diseases

 
Description We have seen that the policy we helped advocate i.e. the removal of colistin as a growth promoter has reduced the level of colistin resistance throughout China.
Exploitation Route Ih global policy adaption - WHO, OIE, FAO and UN
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink

Environment

Healthcare

Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.newton-gcrf.org/impact/stories-of-change/slowing-the-spread-of-antibiotic-resistance/
 
Description Policy changes in China and globally.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare
Impact Types Economic

Policy & public services

 
Title Data for Regulatory fine-tuning of mcr-1 expression increases bacterial fitness and stabilises antibiotic resistance in agricultural settings 
Description Data for Regulatory fine-tuning of mcr-1 expression increases bacterial fitness and stabilises antibiotic resistance in agricultural settings 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2023 
Provided To Others? Yes  
URL https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:6e4647cc-c9e0-4c2f-a575-429bcdf432fd
 
Description Chinese collaborators 
Organisation Chinese Academy of Sciences
Department Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The UK budget will also support IoM ( 101K) for their DXC-HUB research activities in WP5, WP8 and WP12. This engagement was meant to be enhanced by quarterly meetings but due COVID and travel restrictions these were unable to take place and therefore that level of engagement and oversight for WP5, WP8 and WP12 was not optimal.
Collaborator Contribution Please see above for limitations by COVID-19 and travelling. Yang Wang (Chinese PI) oversaw the work by the IoM to ensure the data required was delivered.
Impact This collaboration is multi-disciplinary.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Fuzhou University 
Organisation Fuzhou University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Qiu Yang was a former PhD student under the DETER-XDR-China grants and has since returned to China under a Young Investigators Fellowship. Qiu and I frequently speak/meet/collaborate and have recently made ground-breaking discoveries in the field of AMR transmission.
Collaborator Contribution Qiu has applied for successful grant money to carry out these studies and has successfully built a small team from successful funding. All experimentation has been done in Fuzhou.
Impact Yang QE, Ma X, Zeng L, Wang Q, Li M, Teng L, He M, Liu C, Zhao M, Wang M, Madsen JS, Liao H, Zhou S, Walsh TR. Interphylum dissemination of carbapenem resistance under environmental conditions: the tip of the iceberg in One-Health AMR. 2023. Lancet Microbe. 2023 Nov 22:S2666-5247(23)00227-6. doi: 10.1016/S2666-5247(23)00227
Start Year 2018
 
Description In-vivo experimentation on new animal compounds 
Organisation China Agricultural University (CAU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have designed the compounds and raised finances for the in-vivo experimentation
Collaborator Contribution CAU have undertaken all in-vivo analysis on live-farm scenario.
Impact Early stage to define any outputs or outcomes.
Start Year 2022
 
Description Partnership 
Organisation China Agricultural University (CAU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have taken on co-PhD supervision and also housed PDRAs in the UK as part of this collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Yang Wang and I have been collaborating on AMR research since 2014 and we have jointly published over 43 papers contributing to REF etc.
Impact Very multi-disciplinary
Start Year 2013
 
Description Understanding the impact of NDM and MCR positive infections on China's fishing industry 
Organisation China Agricultural University (CAU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Our team has been working closely with the group in China to extend our sampling remit into farmed fish and shrimp
Collaborator Contribution Our partners have been very active and have achieved sampling of recall swabs from human volunteers across the Yangtze River (west - east river region) in China. This required permission from the Chinese department of fisheries.
Impact Increased awareness on the importance of fishing practices in spreading AMR bacteria in China
Start Year 2017
 
Description 11th September 2019. Geneva ICPIC. "Should you screen for carbapenem resistance in ICU" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited workshop at ICPIC 2019.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 12th October 2019. AMR European workshop. "Global Analysis of Gram-negative resistance". 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop of detecting AMR in clinical specimens
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 12th September 2019. Geneva ICPIC. "An update on global colistin resistance". 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited interactive workshop to speak on the issues surrounding colisin resistance.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 20th November 2019. Guangdong. DETER-XDR-China Synopsis 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop on future UK-Sino engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 22nd November 2019. Chang-Mai. CUT-SEC update and outputs planning session. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CUT-SEC workshop in ChangMai to discuss data and future plans.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 22nd October 2019. UK Antibiotics Research. "One Health Approach to understanding AMR" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Formal presentation with cabinet ministers and CMO etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 24th Match 2019. Beijing. "One-health approach to AMR: where are the gaps?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited lecturer on the issues of Global AMR and particularly related to China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 5th September 2019. EC IMI ND4BB Annual Meeting, Warsaw. "The global microbiological perspective on drug design: a reality check". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk to EC ND4BB IMI.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 6th Feb 2020. Lublin, Poland. Polish Society of infectious Diseases. "One Health Approach to AMR: Dream or Scream?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Key symposium lecture discussing the plights of global AMR.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 9th September 2019. WHO/CDC Think Tank meeting. "Application of WGS in LMICs". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Selected meeting by WHO/CDC in Geneva for understanding future of infections.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description AMR European workshop, Rome. "Global Dissemination of Gram-negative resistance". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International lecturer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description China-UK program workshop - Oxford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop in Merton College, Oxford, where China partners (Shen, Wang, Zhang and Li) presented their work as did UK partners (Walsh, MacLean, Parkhill).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description July 13th-15th 2019 Beijing. DXC-HUB meeting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Group Sino-UK meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description July 18th 2019. London. A global perspective on AMR in Gram-negative bacteria 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact International meeting in Kensington, London by ISID.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description WHO advisory meeting on future landscape for tripartite AMR 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Formal WHO meeting in Geneva to discuss the WHO current AMR initiatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021