Antimicrobial Research Unit
The Antimicrobial Research Unit has as its overarching objective the optimization of antibiotic therapy in the face of escalating resistance within a public health system facing an ever-increasing incidence of infections and infectious diseases corresponding with the HIV/AIDS prevalence in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The research conducted impacts on the National Health Policy in terms of amendments to standard treatment guidelines (STGs) and the Essential drugs List (EDL).
The research within the Unit encompasses surveillance within state hospitals in Kwazulu-Natal, the molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance and the delineation of resistance phenotypes and genotypes ranging from sensitivity testing to DNA sequencing of resistant genes. Resistance to b-lactam antibiotics, aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones and macrolides is prioritised, as is resistance in Acinetobacter spp., Citrobacter spp., Enterobacter spp., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Proteus spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus.
Resistance as a consequence of qualitative and quantitative antibiotic use is also investigated as are related aspects such as risk factors, clinical significance, infection control, pharmaco-economics and dose optimisation in the context of population-specific drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
The Unit was site for an international study commissioned by the World Health Organisation investigating strategies for the containment of antibiotic resistance by developing methodologies for defining the association between antibiotic use and resistance, particularly in community-acquired infections.