BC researchers interested in participating in a new initiative tackling major threats posed by emerging pathogens and antimicrobial resistance should register their interest by May 30th. Photo Credit: Genome British Columbia

The window of opportunity to participate in a new initiative tackling major threats posed by emerging pathogens and antimicrobial resistance is now open and BC researchers interested in applying should register by May 30th.

The Genomic Monitoring of Pathogens in Water (GeMPaW) initiative is a $10 million Genome Canada investment to help Canada defend its population, wildlife and environment from major threats posed by emerging pathogens (EPs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Through cutting-edge genomic monitoring in water and pan-Canadian collaboration, this strategic initiative will prepare Canada for future pandemics and other emerging health challenges.

The initiative will invest in an integrated portfolio of projects building regional capacity and national alignment to tackle EPs/AMR through:

• Community coordination and collaboration (the C3 Hub)
• Regional monitoring for EPs and AMR through water samples
• Indigenous-led monitoring in northern and remote communities

Expressions of interest are now being accepted for involvement with the C3 Hub.

The C3 Hub is the first of three key components of the GeMPaW initiative to become available. The C3 Hub will act broadly as a connector, ensuring that data from monitoring antimicrobial resistance and emerging pathogens are used to inform public policy decisions.

To be eligible for this funding, the C3 Hub team must be pan-Canadian with representation from at least three regions of Canada, including a substantive role or roles for Indigenous researcher(s), knowledge holder(s) or community representative(s).

Full details on this opportunity and how to apply can be found at: www.genomebc.ca/funding-opportunity/genomic-monitoring-of-pathogens-in-water-gempaw.

There will be a C3 Hub information session and introductory webinar on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Participants interested in attending the info session must first register using the C3 Hub Individual Participation Registration form before receiving the Zoom link via email. Deadline for individual registration is May 30, 2023.

Emerging Pathogens

Emerging infectious diseases – which are mostly translated between animals and humans, as with Zika, Ebola, monkeypox and COVID-19 – are a threat to global health. Early genomic surveillance of the pathogens that cause these diseases is crucial to keeping communities, wildlife and the environment healthy.

Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR)

Genomics is key to tackling antimicrobial resistance, which occurs when pathogens evolve mechanisms that reduce the effectiveness of antimicrobial medicines used to treat infection.

Globally, AMR is associated with five million human deaths per year and directly attributed to at least 1.3 million more. By some estimates, AMR may cause even more deaths than cancer by the year 2050. Wastewater-based monitoring promises to deliver crucial tools for AMR mitigation. These could include an assessment of the antibiotic-resistance genes that circulate among human populations and the identification of antimicrobial resistance hotspots.

SOURCE: Genome British Columbia

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