FARM interventions to Control Antimicrobial ResistancE


Research Project: 2022-01-05 - 2025-04-30
Total sum awarded: €1 376 893

FARM-CARE focuses on control of AMR spread in pig farms because pigs are the main contributors to antimicrobial use (AMU) in animals and AMR transmission to farm workers and the environment. The project builds upon the established notion that stress is a major driver for pig disease, which in turn contributes to AMU and AMR spread within farms. Our hypothesis is that AMR spread can be controlled by limiting the common practice of co-mingling, which is a recognized cause of stress and AMR transmission between pigs, and by applying biosecurity measures to prevent AMR transmission to farm workers and the community. We aim to understand the impact of these two farm interventions (WP1-2), and design and evaluate two innovative tools based on machine learning (WP3), assessing cost-effectiveness of each intervention from the perspective of the farmers and the society. The work plan will be implemented using a truly One Health approach based on joint training of 3 PhD fellows across sectors. FARM-CARE is an interdisciplinary and multi-actor project involving 3 higher education institutions, 3 public organisations, and 1 private large company with established national and international networks that will facilitate dissemination and stakeholder involvement. Each partner brings one or more areas of expertise with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Participation by an LMIC partner that represents over 90% of pig farmers in Colombia will allow assessment of the farm interventions in a different production setting and capacity building in this country.

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  • Luca Guardabassi, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (Coordinator)
  • Jesper Larsen, Statens Serum Institute, Denmark (Partner)
  • Edgar Garcia Manzanilla, The Irish Agriculture and Food Development, Ireland (Partner)
  • Corina Zambrano, Colombian Association of Pork Farmers, Colombia (Partner)
  • Melvyn Smith, University of the West England, United Kingdom (Partner)
  • Emma Baxter, Scotland's Rural College, United Kingdom (Partner)
  • Chantal Morel, University Hospital Bonn, Germany (Partner)

The aim of FARM-CARE is to control development and spread of antibiotic resistance in pig farming through 4 complementary interventions that reduce antibiotic use in pigs and prevent transfer of resistant bacteria to people. The four interventions include a farm practice that reduces stress and antibiotic use in pigs (intervention A); a strategy based on hygiene and disinfection that minimizes the risk of transfer of resistant bacteria to farm workers and their families (intervention B); and two sophisticated computer programs enabling farmers and veterinarians to identify stressed piglets predisposed to disease and antibiotic treatment based on their behavior and bacterial content in faeces, respectively (interventions C and D). We will evaluate the efficacy of these interventions using DNA sequencing methods that allow quantification of antibiotic resistance genes in pig faeces, human faeces, and slurry intended for agricultural use. Additionally, costs and benefits to the farmers and to the society as a whole will be assessed for each intervention. FARM-CARE is a project that requires knowledge and expertise from different disciplines and sectors. This is why the consortium brings together scientists and professionals with different backgrounds. Altogether the consortium comprises 3 universities, 3 public organizations (1 hospital, 1 research institute and 1 national agriculture and food authority) and 1 large non-profit company in representation of 5 countries (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom and Colombia).