Dr Alida Fe Talento, Clinical Senior Lecturer in the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Microbiologist in the Department of Microbiology, Children’s Health Ireland,  was recently announced as the Irish partner in a multi-national research project which will highlight the importance of surveillance and a better understanding of how antifungal resistance evolves and can be managed in the future. Dr Alida Fe Talento’s project part will be hosted in the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Trinity College Dublin, which already has a long-standing interest in fungal diseases with the working groups of Prof Julie Renwick, Prof Tom Rogers, and Prof Johannes Wagener.  Dr. Alida Fe Talento and Prof. Tom Rogers are also members of the INFORM-AFR network.

Led by Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands, the newly funded scientific study, “Development of innovative strategies, tools, technologies, and methods for diagnostics and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance” will bring 7 leading European Research teams in this topic to work together to better understand the problem.

Speaking about the new award, Dr Alida Fe Talento commented: "The opportunity for Ireland to participate in this multi-national project will highlight the importance of surveillance and a better understanding of how antifungal resistance in A. fumigatus evolves and can be managed in the future."

Background to the health problem

Antimicrobial resistance is a global problem, and the rapid emergence of drug resistance of human fungal infections is of high concern. Unfortunately, insufficient research efforts and opportunities in the past have resulted in a lack of surveillance systems to track antifungal resistant Aspergillus fumigatus, as well as an incomplete understanding of how antifungal resistance evolves or can be managed. A. fumigatus is a common, ubiquitous saprophytic fungus that can cause fatal invasive infections in immune-compromised patients. Antifungal azole compounds have been effective in treating Aspergillus diseases in humans and animals but are also used for crop protection against plant pathogenic fungi. Exposure to azole fungicides in the environment is a major driving force for resistance selection and multi-azole resistant A. fumigatus genotypes are globally detected in clinical isolates. This severely threatens human fungal disease management yet appropriate risk assessments for dual-use antifungal compounds are surprisingly lacking. To address this need we will develop tools to detect the emergence of dual-use antifungal resistance and provide appropriate risk assessments strategies. In addition, we aim to bridge the gap between environment and patient by using air sampling surveillance to investigate the exposure risk of antifungal resistant A. fumigatus in a wide range of geographical areas (including EU and Africa). Analysing antifungal resistance patterns will strengthen future surveillance methods and investigations by advancing comprehension of transmission routes.

Academic Research Partners

  • Eveline Snelders, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands (Coordinator)
  • Michael Bromley, University of Manchester, United Kingdom (Partner)
  • Jorge Amich, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spain (Partner)
  • Alida Fe Talento, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (Partner)
  • Felix Bongomin, Gulu University, Uganda (Partner)
  • Laurence Millon, University Hospital of Besançon, France (Partner)
  • Matthew Fisher, Imperial College London, United Kingdom (Observer)

Funding Sponsor

The research project is funded by The Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance, JPIAMR, an international collaborative platform engaging 29 nations and the European Commission to curb antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Health Research Board will fund the Irish arm of the research.

For more detail: https://www.jpiamr.eu/projects/gap-afr/

Dr Alida Fe Talento, Consultant Microbiologist at Children’s Health Ireland, Clinical, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Clinical Microbiology, Sir Patrick Dun Laboratory, Clinical Senior Lecturer (Clinical Microbiology), School of Medicine, TCD and honorary clinical associate professor, Department of Microbiology in RCSI.