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Scottish Universities Awarded £4.2M to Fight HAIs

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Scottish government said on Tuesday it is providing £4.2 million ($4.6 million) to create a consortium to use genomic and other technologies to prevent and control hospital-acquired infections. 

The consortium, led by researchers at the University of Glasgow, will establish the Scottish Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Institute, which will be tasked with four main objectives — to develop new genomic diagnostics to identify current and emerging HAIs; to use data to develop predictive models to identify patients who may be prone to HAIs or at greater risk of dying from them; to develop new methods to prevent the spread of such infections; and to research new ways of using antibiotics more effectively and efficiently. 

The work will begin next month and last for five years. The team of 19 co-investigators working on the project comes from the universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, St. Andrews, and Strathclyde. Alistair Leonard, a professor at the University of Glasgow and director of the Scottish Infection Research Network, will lead the consortium. 

In a statement, St. Andrews said that its researchers will use genomics to elucidate the molecular epidemiology of HAIs with a focus on two areas: understanding the epidemiology of the main organisms that cause HAIs; and developing a near real-time sequencing platform to support the development of molecular diagnostics to identify and target infection transmission in hospital settings.