NRP 49 "Antibiotic resistance"

​The National Research Programme "Antibiotic resistance" (NRP 49) intended to focus on establishing scientific strategies and new methods applicable to a prospective system of resistance monitoring and on the analysis of the current situation concerning resistance in Switzerland, in all relevant areas (human and animal populations, agriculture, foodstuffs and the environment). The mobility of resistant bacteria or resistance genes and the resulting risk for future therapies have been evaluated. Molecular studies on the emergence of antibiotic resistance provided new knowledge for the development of new antibiotics and new methods of in vitro detection. Furthermore, social, legal, ethical and economical consequences of the development of antibiotic resistance and a possible modification of rulings on the use of antibiotics have been estimated.

Facts & figures
FrameworkCHF 12'000'000
​Duration5 years
​​President of the steering committeeJean-Claude Piffaretti, Interlifescience, Massagno
​Implementation OfficerFrancesco Lurati, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano
Programme CoordinatorBarbara Flückiger Schwarzenbach, SNSF
Work launchJuly 2001
​End of research​June 2006


Final reports

Human and veterinary medicine

Occurrence of human-use antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment (HUMABRA)
Prof. Dr. Walter Giger, EAWAG, Dübendorf

An interventional study to evaluate the impact of a rapid on-admission screening strategy in preventing nosocomial MRSA infection
PD Dr. Stephan Harbarth, Service Prévention et Contrôle de l’Infection, Direction médicale, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève

Antibiotic resistance genes in food: Molecular identification and transfer between micro-organisms (ABRFOOD)
Prof. Dr. Leo Meile, Institut für Lebensmittel- und Ernährungswissenschaften (ILW), Labor für Lebensmittelbiotechnologie, ETH Zürich

Sentinel surveillance of antibiotic resistance in Switzerland (SEARCH)
Prof. Dr. Kathrin Mühlemann, Institut für Infektionskrankheiten, Universität Bern

Role of residual antibiotics in aquatic environments on selection and diffusion of bacterial resistances (RASDI)
Prof. Dr. Raffaele Peduzzi, Istituto Cantonale di Microbiologia, Bellinzona

Assessment of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in long-term care facilities
Prof. Dr. Christian Ruef, Klinik für Infektionskrankheiten und Spitalhygiene, Universitätsspital Zürich

Evolution of macrolide resistance of enterococci isolated from faeces of calves fed with antibiotic contaminated milk
Prof. Dr. Melchior Schällibaum, Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Nutztiere & Milchwirtschaft (ALP), Bern

Induction and spread of antibiotic resistance in livestock
Dr. Christian Stamm, EAWAG, Dübendorf

Development of an optimal strategy for monitoring antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from food animals in Switzerland
Dr. Katharina Stärk Spallek, Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen (BVET), Bern

Molecular biology

Genetic basis of glycopeptide resistance in Staphylococcus aureus
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Berger-Bächi, Universität Zürich, Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie

Identification of ribosomal mechanisms mediating drug resistance
Prof. Dr. Erik Christian Böttger, Universität Zürich, Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie

Rapid characterisation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates for an improved drug prescription
Prof. Dr. Patrice François, Laboratoire de Recherche Génomique, Service des Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève

Antimicrobial resistance in Bacilli, transfer and detection
Prof. Dr. Joachim Frey, Institut für Veterinärbakteriologie, Universität Bern

Effect of teicoplanin resistance on host response to Staphylococcus aureus
Prof. Dr. Regine Landmann-Suter, Departement Forschung, Abteilung Infektiologie, Universitätsspital Basel

Targeting tuberculosis inside its host cells
Prof. Dr. Jean Pieters, Biozentrum, University of Basel

Molecular evolution of pathogenicity and resistance in Escherichia coli
Prof. Dr. Jean-Claude Piffaretti, Istituto Cantonale di Microbiologia, Bellinzona

Resistance of the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus to antifungal agents
Prof. Dr. Dominique Sanglard, Institut de Microbiologie de l’Université de Lausanne

Overcoming intrinsic multidrug resistance to discover and expand the repertoire of antibiotics active against mycobacterial pathogens
Prof. Dr. Charles J. Thompson, Prof. Dr. Stephan Grzesiek, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Division of Molecular Microbiology

Novel approaches to detect and circumvent antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Dr. Christian van Delden, Département de Médecine, Division des Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire, Genève

Mechanisms of glycopeptide resistance in staphylococci
Dr. Pierre Vaudaux, Division des Maladies Infectieuses, Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire de Genève

Society, law and economies

Economic analysis of outpatients’ antibiotic consumption in Switzerland
Prof. Dr. oec. publ. Massimo Filippini, Istituto di Finanza, Facoltà di economia, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano

Biological terrorism and crisis management in Switzerland – Lessons learned from the anthrax alert and steps ahead
Dr. Jan Metzger, Forschungsstelle für Sicherheitspolitik ETH Zürich

Towards judicious use of antibiotics by doctors and patients
Prof. Dr. Peter Schulz, Institute of Communication and Health, Facoltà di scienze della comunicazione, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano

Prediction and predictability of resistance to antibiotics: Studies based on coupled map lattices
PD. Dr. John Shiner, Hettiswil

Legal implications of antibiotic resistance: Analysis of Swiss legislation and comparative law (D, F, UK)
Prof. Dr. jur. Dominique Sprumont, Institut de droit de la santé, Université de Neuchâtel

Individual decision on antibiotic treatment. A case for utility assessment
Prof. Dr. Dominik Uehlinger, Klinik und Poliklinik für Nephrologie und Hypertonie, Universität Bern, Inselspital, Bern

Use of antibiotics in Switzerland: Investigation of a monitoring system
MD Giorgio Zanetti, Service of Infectious Diseases and Division of Hospital Preventive Medicine, University Hospital, Lausanne