Gonorrhoea: detection, antimicrobial resistance and treatment. (2016–2019)
Gonorrhoea is an important cause of ill health and rates of gonorrhoea in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are amongst the highest in the world. Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the organism that causes gonorrhoea, was once easily curable by a wide range of antibiotics. Now, N. gonorrhoeae antimicrobial resistance is considered an `urgent threat¿ (the highest threat level) by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall aim of my fellowship is to lead research into gonococcal infections, focusing on improving management of gonococcal infections for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The proposed studies comprise two key objectives: (1) to improve diagnosis and uptake of appropriate treatment of gonorrhoea; and (2) to better to understand the genetic basis, development and transmission of antimicrobial resistance in gonorrhoea. My research program is primarily laboratory-based, but is enriched via strong and established collaborations with clinical, public health and epidemiologically-based researchers to ensure outcomes are achievable and relevant. Combined, the listed projects will improve access and uptake of testing and appropriate treatment via technology transfer to health providers servicing Aboriginal communities, and will also provide new tools and insight into the development and spread of gonococcal resistance. It will ensure that clinical responses (such as antibiotic guidelines) are current, facilitate antibiotic stewardship and decrease inappropriate antimicrobial usage, thereby improving patient outcomes. Overall, with the support of this fellowship, I will spearhead research that will lead to improvements in management of gonococcal infection in priority populations, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who experience sexual health disadvantage.