DENMARK/SWEDEN – Denmark and Sweden have announced a collaborative effort to establish an EU reference laboratory focused on combating antibiotic resistance, a significant health challenge impacting humans, animals, and the environment.

Led by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the reference laboratory will provide scientific expertise in diagnostics and infection preparedness, aiming to enhance the monitoring and reporting of diseases and antibiotic resistance across member states.

The consortium operating the laboratory includes Statens Serum Institut (SSI) and DTU National Food Institute in Denmark, as well as the Clinical Microbiology Region Kronoberg/EUCAST Development Laboratory (EDL) in Sweden. This appointment by the EU Commission marks a crucial step in addressing the global health threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

Anders Rhod Larsen, heading the consortium, expressed pride in the appointment, highlighting the complementary strengths of the consortium’s members.

Professor René Hendriksen from DTU National Food Institute emphasized the importance of continuity and sustained efforts in combating antibiotic resistance, recognizing it as a significant global health challenge.

The EU reference laboratory’s tasks include advising the EU Commission on surveillance systems, training laboratories to meet quality standards in sensitivity tests, and ensuring method standardization and data comparability.

The collaborative effort between EDL, DTU National Food Institute, and SSI aims to leverage their expertise in method development, capacity building, epidemiology, and outbreak detection using whole-genome sequencing.

The One Health approach, which acknowledges the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, is central to the laboratory’s functions.

Antibiotic resistance can be transmitted between animals and humans through various channels, including direct contact, food, and the environment, highlighting the need for a holistic approach to combat this challenge.

The partnership’s extensive experience in international projects, capacity development, and collaborative research initiatives, such as the DANMAP report on antibiotic resistance monitoring since 1995, demonstrates their commitment to addressing antibiotic resistance comprehensively.

In  establishing the EU reference laboratory, Denmark and Sweden, along with their consortium partners, aim to play a pivotal role in advancing scientific knowledge, enhancing surveillance systems, and ultimately mitigating the impact of antibiotic resistance on public health.

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