Antibiotic resistance

Bacteria have found various ways to develop resistance. Bacterial infections are still a major health threat in all parts of the world, Globalisation, migration and (medical) tourism will inevitably lead to the world-wide spread of new (multi-)resistant mutants.

Resistance to antibiotics is a problem reaching across many different domains. We urgently need to change how patients are diagnosed, how antibiotics are prescribed and distributed and how patients use them. In addition we can't ignore the role of animal health care and hygiene in health care facilities. Adequate diagnostic or treatment facilities are scarce. To make matters worse, antibiotics of uncontrolled, often inadequate quality are widely available to uninformed populations and unlicensed or unskilled health providers. Untreatable infections become alarmingly frequent, while the research and development pipeline in the pharmacological industry is extremely thin.

The ecological, sanitary and socio-economic conditions that promote the propagation of anitbiotics have never disappeared. In many areas they have even worsened due to urbanisation, population growth and migration.

Bacterial Infections in the Tropics

The multidisciplinary BIT programme, 'Bacterial Infections in the Tropics', researches antibiotic resistance in the tropics. It investigates how antibiotic resistance is caused and researches solutions. BIT combines biomedical, clinical and antropological research lines in a joint project. It develops top-level, internationally rooted and sustainable research programmes in a highly relevant and scientifically exciting field, within ITM's specific niche. It intends to have an impact on science, medical practice and capacity strengthening in endemic countries. BIT has special focus on bloodstream infections.

BIT is a multidisciplinary programme including three different, but synergetic research lines on bacterial infections in the tropics. It's first priority and model is invasive blood infections. BIT's goals are:

  • Developing new diagnostic tools.
  • Creating adequate treatment strategies and antibiotic stewardship.
  • Researching human, social and cultural factors in the perception of (bacterial) disease and antibiotics.