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Ashoka University wins Innovation Award for AMR Data Challenge

The award was presented for their contribution, titled “Novel Approach to Antibiogram Analysis: Looking at the Composite Resistance Phenotype”

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Ashoka University has been selected as one of the five awardees of the Vivli AMR Surveillance Open Data Re-use Data Challenge. Their contribution, titled “Novel Approach to Antibiogram Analysis: Looking at the Composite Resistance Phenotype,” holds promise in advancing the comprehension of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

AMR represents a critical threat to humanity, with the World Health Organization (WHO) identifying it as one of the top 10 global public health challenges. By 2050 AMR infections could surpass all other causes of death globally, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.

In response to this pressing issue, Vivli and Wellcome launched the AMR Register in 2022, a platform featuring industry datasets, consolidating surveillance data for the benefit of researchers. The AMR Data Challenge, funded by Wellcome, was launched in April 2023, as a catalyst for innovation and support for the inventive reutilisation of the wealth of surveillance data available within the AMR Register. A total of 56 teams from 28 different countries participated in the challenge this year.

Most AMR studies typically focus on how specific drugs interact with particular bacteria. The Ashoka University team extended this approach. Shraddha Karve, Research Faculty Fellow at Ashoka University who was leading the team, said, “The strength of this analysis lies in its holistic approach to studying resistance. We proposed to look at resistance to different antibiotics as a composite property rather than concentrating on a specific drug-bug combination. It’s like the tale of the elephant and the blind men: In a group of people, if everyone is only touching a part of the animal, the inference drawn is very different for everyone!”

The team also provided a proof of concept by correlating composite resistance patterns to climate variables such as precipitation and temperature. Their results underlined the importance of climatic conditions to the prevalence of resistance patterns.

The team consisted of five researchers. This includes four from Ashoka University, namely Shraddha Karve, Rintu Kutum, Vasundhara Karthikeyan, Ragul Natrajan and additionally, Devojit Sharma from ICMR NIREH, Bhopal.

Ashoka University’s success in this global data challenge underscores the institution’s dedication to advancing scientific knowledge and addressing global health challenges. It also reinforces the importance of open science in driving solutions to complex problems such as AMR. We look forward to continuing our work on challenges such as AMR, contributing to a healthier future for all,” said Professor Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University.

The Vivli AMR Register shares essential surveillance data from leading pharma companies, including GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Shionogi, Paratek, and Venatorx. The open sharing of industry data through this unified platform empowers researchers to detect trends in multidrug resistance over time, inform policy, and model future resistance trends.

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