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University research is helping in battle against antibiotic resistance

Research carried out by University of Gloucestershire that is helping in the battle against antibiotic resistance, will be showcased at a major international science conference.

Dr Leila Vali, a lecturer in Biomedical Science in the University’s School of Education and Science, collaborated with experts from the United States and Kuwait on a study of an infection outbreak in the intensive care unit of one of the largest hospitals in Kuwait. 

They discovered a strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E. coli, that was resistant to a wide range of antibiotics including colistin – an antibiotic considered the last resort by medical experts for infections that won’t respond to anything else.

The discovery of the resistant strain and its potential impact on patients was concerning for Dr Vali and her colleagues, but by identifying it early, it was possible to contain its spread and minimise the number of people infected. 

Dr Vali’s research will be featured at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Congress, in Barcelona on 27-30 April.

Life-threatening infections

Dr Vali said: “Humans can be exposed to E. coli from contaminated food or water, and most healthy adults normally recover from most strains. However, there some E. coli strains that can cause life-threatening infections in hospitalised or immunosuppressed individuals.  

“We’re pleased that our study helped to mitigate the potential impact of the resistant strain of E. coli on patients, visitors and staff that we discovered at the hospital in Kuwait by identifying it in good time and preventing its spread.

“We look forward to presenting our findings at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Congress in April and contributing to the important research around E. coli and antibiotic resistance.”