The International Surveillance of Reservoirs of Antibiotic Resistance (ISRAR) project is a joint research collaboration of the laboratories at the Tufts University School of Medicine Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance, APUA country chapters, and the U.S. National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center Biological Threat Characterization Program (NBACC-BTC) to collect global environmental and veterinary commensal isolates. The primary goals of ISRAR are:

  1. To investigate the potential for a global surveillance system to track antibiotic resistance in commensal bacteria, and
  2. Assist in national biodefense efforts by determining which genotypes and phenotypes of resistant bacteria found in the global biome have the possibility of being utilized as enhancers of agents of biological terrorism.

APUA headquarters coordinates collection and analysis of environmental and veterinary commensal organisms that may serve as reservoirs for antibiotic resistance in non-pathogenic bacteria. This project is a continuation of a successful pilot phase demonstrating an antibiotic resistance surveillance system capable of tracking and analyzing patterns of antibiotic resistance in commensal bacteria over a multi-year period on a global scale. APUA Global Chapters in conjunction with local laboratories in India, South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Uganda are collecting and performing preliminary characterization and resistance analyses on commensal organisms from soil, water, and animals. Isolates are entered into the APUA ROAR database for analysis of trends and patterns.

The project also compiles a published literature database of annotated, peer-reviewed publications focused solely on the examination of antibiotic resistance and its transfer among the normal flora of humans and animals and their associated environments (air, water, soil and waste).  Working in collaboration with international experts in the area of commensal resistance, the AMROAR advisory group follows the latest studies and evaluates the accumulated knowledge base on this subject, identifying key knowledge gaps and suggesting a research agenda for advancing our understanding of the role of commensal bacteria in the problem of antibiotic resistance.

APUA’s international surveillance system that tracks antibacterial resistance found moderate to high frequencies of drug resistance in non-disease causing bacteria (commensals) of animals and environmental sources at diverse sites across the globe. APUA presented the findings at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Overview of ISRAR
ISRAR Progress Report (abridged): 2008-2010
Surveillance of antibiotic resistance determinants in commensal and environmental bacteria from international sources (poster presented at 50th ICAAC in 2010