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K-State Today

November 23, 2016

Report co-authored by Victoriya Volkova reviews methods for analysis of how antibiotics in livestock impact resistance

By Tiffany Roney

Victoriya Volkova, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, co-authored a new report from a working group supported by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis that provides detailed analysis of how antibiotics used in food-producing animals may contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

The report is a subobjective of the National Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

Volkova said the Food and Drug Administration is urging meat producers to use prudently medically important antibiotics, which are antibiotics similar to those used to combat illness in people. A collection of agencies including the FDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are gathering data to monitor antimicrobial resistance in animal and human bacteria via National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS.

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis invited Volkova to serve as a member of the working group that produced the report, "A Proposed Analytic Framework for Determining the Impact of an Antimicrobial Resistance Intervention at the National Level," which was published in August.

The working group included analysts from the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, CDC, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as from Cornell and North Carolina State universities, and Volkova from K-State.

The report discusses the advantages and limitations of new, alternative and scientifically verifiable methods for analyzing impact of antibiotic use on antimicrobial resistance. The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis working group identified analytical methods and quantitative data that may be appropriate for associating population-level changes in antibiotic use in livestock with population-level changes in antimicrobial resistance.

"Producing the report was a real milestone," Volkova said. "While some antimicrobial resistance is naturally occurring, it's critical to study how antibiotic use in livestock contributes to acquired resistance or increases resistance frequency."

"This was a unique opportunity to inform the government about methods to analyze performance of an upcoming intervention," Volkova said. "We hope our work will assist decision-makers in efficiently allocating limited resources for collection and analysis of the relevant data."

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is funded by the National Science Foundation via a cooperative agreement with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The NIMBioS working group was established by Craig Lewis, of the Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine, and Yrjö T. Gröhn, professor at Cornell University.