Author: Carolyne Horner

Publication Date: 06 December 2021

Dear Reader of the Una Health AMR Blog

I hope this missive finds you well and avoiding all viruses like any good microbiology enthusiast? Thank-you for your company over the past year, your blog views have been very encouraging and, you never know, all being well, I may be let loose to write more posts in 2022.

Image: Delegates at the NG Biotech Distributor Meeting (photo courtesy of NG Biotech)

Well, what a whirlwind year it has been. It’s been so, so busy at work! The Una Health team has grown by at least seven this year, not counting the Gingerbread Man who came to visit one day in October. The website has had a revamp, we’ve successfully acquired new products, and I attended my first distributor meeting in France (and you know how bad my French is!).

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy have also had an incredibly busy year this year (it’s their 50th year don’t you know?). Throughout the year they have invited the great and the good to contribute short, easy-to-read reports discussing ideas and suggestions for tackling antimicrobial resistance. We’ve not even emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, I really don’t wish a pandemic of difficult-to-treat infections on anyone. I know you’ve been busy, so I’ll forgive you if you haven’t kept up to date with these reports, but they are worth checking out.

Mind you, I was equally as excited when the first quarterly report on acquired carbapenemase-producing Gram-negative bacteria identified in human samples in England was published by PHE (oops, I mean the UK Health Security Agency). I absolutely loved the graph of the regional distribution of reports by resistance mechanism in the April – June report. Who knew there could be so much variation in carbapenemases found throughout England? And then of course, we’ve had the updated ESPAUR report (you know, the English Surveillance Programme Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance Report). It’s a wonder I get any work done at all with all this interesting stuff to read.

You know how I love all things microbiology? Well, earlier in the year I discovered a comic all about the hidden world of microbes called Luna & Simon: Bizarre Bacteria and Peculiar Plasmids. It really is a treat to read and such a welcome distraction when you need a break from all the stress and the strain of daily life.

Did you see in the news that WHO have recommended a malaria vaccine for children at risk? This is a fantastic advancement, and let’s face it, something we may be needing nearer home with the rate that climate change is progressing. What? You don’t believe me? Cast your eye over an Editorial in The Lancet Microbe and see for yourself: Climate change: fires, floods and infectious diseases.

Image: The cat’s in charge

One last thing before I go, if you do get some downtime over the festive period, be sure to check out the latest articles in Pathology in Practice (PIP) and Clinical Services Journals (CSJ). You’ll find a really interesting take on the diagnosis of acute respiratory tract infections in PIP and another one discussing the diversity of point-of-care tests for the rapid detection of infection.

Well, I must dash, the cat is shouting at me to let me know that she is ready for her tea. Honestly, I’m a slave to that cat but you know I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t forget to write and tell me all your news and your hopes for next year. You never know, we may be able to meet up sometime soon. Which reminds me, I really must register to attend the IBMS Congress in March…

All the best to you and yours! Until next year, ta-ra for now!