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Addressing Drug-Resistant Pathogens by Targeting Their Protective Biofilms

By August 2, 2023No Comments

Each year, approximately 35 million adults receive inpatient care in US hospitals. More than half of the patient-days spent in hospitals involve treatment with invasive medical devices. All of these patients are at risk for healthcare-associated infections – the most common adverse event in healthcare delivery worldwide and a significant contributor to mortality and financial losses.

WHO has declared that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. A recent analysis in The Lancet estimates that approximately five million people died due to infections associated with antimicrobial resistance, and approximately 1.3 million deaths are directly attributable to resistance. Six pathogens – E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – are responsible for 80% of the deaths.


David and Nancy Auth Endowed Professor of Bioengineering Valerie Daggett and her lab are collaborating with James Bryers, another UW Bioengineering Professor, to overcome, or bypass, the resistance. Their hope is if their compounds effectively target even a fraction of these cases, the effect could be quite impactful in decreasing the death rate from these pathogens.