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Pneumococcal resistance epidemicity and virulence - an international study
EC contribution
: € 3.000.000
: 42 months
Starting date
: 01/01/2004
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: Streptococcus pneumoniae, antibiotic resistance, molecular epidemiology, pathogenicity, virulence factors, host factors, transmission, innate immunity, systems biology, vaccines, drugs
Contract/Grant agreement number
: LSHM-CT-2003-503413
Project web-site


Centers in five countries with different frequencies of resistance among pneumococci - Sweden (low), the United Kingdom (low), the Czech Republic (low), Iceland (middle), and Portugal (high) - have collected and characterized drug resistant and drug susceptible pneumococci causing invasive disease (sepsis and meningitis) and carriage (nasopharyngeal colonization), respectively, from the same geographical area and during the same time. The isolates have been characterized with respect to their transmissibility, antibiotic resistance and potential to cause severe disease. This has enabled knowledge on the molecular epidemiology of pneumococcal infections and carriage in different geographic areas where the frequency of resistance differs significantly. Resistance determinants in pneumococcal clones associated with high transmissibility have been studied and a genomic comparison between resistant and susceptible isolates has been performed. A genomic comparison between streptococci and sequencing of a strain of S. mitis, a frequent source of heterologous genes carrying resistance determinants in S. pneumoniae, has been done as well. Host factors important in patients with pneumococcal disease has been determined using sera from healthy individuals and patients and host-pathogen interactions affected has been elucidated using the clinical isolates collected and data obtained concerning clinical and genetic parameters. Environmental factors and antibiotic consumption data have been monitored and mathematical modeling performed and correlated to transmission of drug resistant pneumococci. A website has been created. Using comparative genomics and a test platform the project has tried to identify novel antivirulence compounds against pneumococci and other human specific pathogens.

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