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Approaches to control multi-resistant enterococci: studies on molecular ecology, horizontal gene transfer, fitness and prevention
EC contribution
: € 3.148.000
: 36 months
Starting date
: 01/02/2007
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecalis, VRE, antibiotic drug resistance, horizontal gene transfer, population structure, genetic evolution, niche adaptation, colonisation modulation, immunotherapy
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHE-CT-2007-037410
Project web-site


In European hospitals up to 60% of nosocomial infections are nowadays caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens, including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis (VRE). VRE are among the most resistant opportunistic pathogens and have become the paradigm for the post-anti-microbial era. Genetic population analyses of Enterococcus faecium revealed the presence of a High-Risk Enterococcal Clonal Complex (HiRECC) resistant to multiple antibiotics and responsible for the vast majority of nosocomial VRE infections and hospital outbreaks worldwide. In this proposal, the evolutionary development of HiRECC in E. faecium and E. faecalis will be further unraveled and combined with new knowledge on intra- and inter-species gene transfer (including antibiotic resistance genes) and biological fitness costs of hospital adaptation.

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