Beating the antibiotic resistance crisis

Professor Laura Piddock

Tackling the global challenge of infectious diseases for the benefit of society

Video transcript:

If the numbers of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections keep on increasing, and there are no new treatments, the huge medical advances that we’ve seen in the last 25 years just will not be able to continue. 

In the short term, what it means for you and I is that it would take longer to treat an infection, until they finally find an effective drug. 

If we don’t do anything about this crisis, by 2050 millions of people will die – more than from cancer or road traffic accidents.

Hello, I’m Laura Piddock. I’m Professor of Microbiology and a Deputy Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection here in Birmingham. 

The Institute of Microbiology and Infection opened in December 2012, and our strategy is to explore new ways to treat infections, by understanding the basic biology of the microorganisms. The Institute of Microbiology and Infection spans a wide range of work, not just looking at how bacteria can be inhibited by compounds or different strategies, but understanding interactions between subcellular components of bacteria and drugs. 

We look at how the bacteria get spread around a hospital, and we also are discovering new treatments to treat bacterial infections. 

My team investigates multi-drug efflux, which is a pump that takes antibiotics out of the inside of the bacteria cell, to the outside, and we’re looking at identifying the switches that turn the pump on and off. 

Some of our work has led us to develop a new test that we can screen for compounds that will turn the switch off, and by doing this the bacterium becomes sensitive to many drugs. 

Another aspect of our work is looking at how bacteria are able to transfer antibiotic resistant genes from one to the other. By carrying out this research, we are now developing a test that we can use to screen for compounds that will stop bacteria transferring antibiotic resistant genes to each other. 

We’re also developing a test that will indicate compounds that stop bacteria keeping these genes within them. So, it will change the stability of antibiotic resistance and in this way we hope that bacteria will become more sensitive to drugs that are already available. 

We desperately need more funding for this area of research. 

If you wish to donate to the research in the Institute of Microbiology and Infection, please see our website

Only by working together can we reduce the numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are around our hospitals and environment, and by working together we can solve this antibiotic resistance crisis. c