Antibiotic resistance poses a serious global threat to human health

A growing number of infections are becoming more difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance.

Genomic medicine is transforming the way we track and treat bacterial infections, with new technologies like whole genome sequencing being used to identify, treat and prevent infections.

The infectious disease project teams will work together to establish key infrastructure to support the clinical delivery of infectious disease genomics in Queensland. They will develop considerations for:

  • routine testing for infectious disease outbreaks in hospitals and aged care facilities across Queensland
  • Queensland’s integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR) when tracking infectious disease outbreaks.
healthcare-associated infections project

Track, treat and prevent infection outbreaks

Every year, between 165,000 and 200,000 Australians contract a healthcare-associated infection, causing significant ill health and costs to the health system.

This project will sequence the genomes of multi-drug resistant bacteria suspected in patients in Queensland Health facilities, Queensland nursing homes and remote communities.

This means the number of healthcare-associated infections will reduce as infection control staff have more information on hand to prevent outbreaks and respond quickly when they do occur.

This is a clinical implementation project, which applies best evidence to clinical practice and is intended to become standard of care following project completion.

PROJECT LEAD: Professor David Paterson (The University of Queensland)

Sepsis project

Optimising treatment outcomes for children and adults with sepsis – saving lives through the early detection of sepsis

Every year, more than 5000 Australians lose their lives to sepsis, with close to 20,000 Australians developing the illness. Half of paediatric sepsis patients die within the first 24 hours.

This project will pilot the use of bacterial genome sequencing from patients using a hand-held genomic sequencing device. This means bacterial species could be identified quickly and accurately, in as little as 20 minutes.

This will allow correct antibiotics to be prescribed sooner, no matter where a patient is in Queensland: metropolitan, rural or remote areas. This will save lives, reduce the number of serious complications and length of stay in intensive care due to  sepsis.

This is a clinical innovation project, which explores new applications of medical genomics in clinical practice.

PROJECT LEAD: Associate Professor Luregn Schlapbach (Queensland Children’s Hospital; The University of Queensland)

North Queensland Project

Pathogen genomics North Queensland – tackling infections in remote communities

Remote and Indigenous communities, like those in North Queensland, experience higher rates of death and illness as a result of serious infectious diseases.

Patients are often unable to access medical care quickly, so life-threatening infections like sepsis are more prevalent. This is because diagnosing infections and treating them with the correct antibiotics is often delayed. Far North Queensland is also vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases from the Indo-Pacific region.

This project will use genomic sequencing to identify bacteria within hours—not days. Identifying emerging bacteria quickly will allow health services to better prepare for developing health threats, and to treat patients more effectively, sooner.

This is a clinical innovation project, which explores new applications of medical genomics in clinical practice.

PROJECT LEAD: Professor Emma McBryde (James Cook University)