Profile of a young bearded male young professional scientist working on a computer in a modern laboratory Profile of a young bearded male young professional scientist working on a computer in a modern laboratory

Building a Common Language for Antimicrobial Resistance Between Human & Animal Health

Ames, IA

  • Advanced Animal Systems

Health industry experts agree, an integrated, unified cross-species approach, known as One Health, is necessary for optimizing the health of people, animals and ecosystems and for combating antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Yet, AMR measurement metrics can differ greatly between animal and human health, leading to misconceptions and miscommunication. This lack of a common AMR measurement standard limits veterinarians’ abilities to make informed antibiotic prescription decisions, especially within the livestock industry. To strengthen antimicrobial stewardship within livestock veterinary medicine, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research is awarding a $216,724 Seeding Solutions grant to Iowa State University of Science and Technology (ISU) to develop a standard method of collecting, reporting and sharing multispecies antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) results for use in human and animal health industries. Merck MSD is providing matching funds for a total $433,449 investment.

Antimicrobial medicines are commonly used to prevent and treat infections in humans and animals. AMR occurs when bacteria and other pathogens change over time. As the pathogens change, they no longer respond to these medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Led by ISU Assistant Professor of Vet Microbiology & Preventive Medicine Amanda Kreuder, DVM, Ph.D., Diplomate ACVIM (LA), the research team is leveraging the resources and membership of the National Institute of Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Education (NIAMRRE) to improve antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary medicine and consequently reduce AMR by generating epidemiologic cut-off values (ECV). ECVs are a measure of AMR for animal and human pathogens that has the potential to provide a common language between all animal species and humans. The team will add the collected data to a repository that includes a public facing NIAMRRE dashboard and develop training webinars and educational outreach programs and publications to inform human and animal health professionals on the One Health advantages of using ECVs for epidemiologic studies.

A clear understanding of antimicrobial resistance data across the human and animal health industries is essential to mitigating antimicrobial resistance across species, but that can’t occur when one industry measures and reports results in a way not translatable by the other,” “This research can build a common language between both industries and a way to share this method of reporting to promote responsible antimicrobial use in livestock veterinary medicine. Nikki Dutta
Scientific Program Officer

“Antimicrobial susceptibility testing is a core component of antimicrobial stewardship in both human and veterinary medicine, yet the interpretation of antimicrobial resistance using traditional clinical breakpoint interpretation methodology does not directly translate from one animal species to another, let alone from animals to humans,” said Kreuder. “In addition to addressing the need to communicate AMR in an equivalent language between human and animal health, this work will also support animal agriculture by placing it on a level playing field when it comes to measurement of AMR. Through providing veterinarians and producers more tools to identify and effectively treat bacterial infections in animals, this investment in the generation of data that can serve as a common language for AMR will help improve decision making regarding antimicrobial use in livestock and positively impact antimicrobial stewardship.”

FFAR’s Seeding Solutions Grant program is an open call for bold ideas that address pressing food and agriculture issues in one of the Foundation’s Challenge Areas. Kreuder’s research furthers FFAR’s Advanced Animal Systems Challenge Area by improving animal health, welfare and productivity, antibiotic stewardship and environmental sustainability. This research also adopts a transdisciplinary, One Health approach benefiting animals, humans and the environment, which is a FFAR Seeding Solutions prioritization.


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.


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