The One Health concept acknowledges the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health. In order to study the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment and how this affects the spread of infectious agents and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary cooperation is key. In CORNELIA, we have put together researchers from all three One Health pillars, including groups representing biological and technological sectors.
AMR is one of the greatest health threats of our time, challenging both human and veterinary medicine. The use of antimicrobial agents is the main driver of the development and spread of resistance. Identical AMR determinants and their corresponding genetic vehicles occur in bacteria isolated from humans, animals, and the environment. In CORNELIA we will study how the development and dissemination of AMR take place between bacteria that belong to humans, animals and the environment. Our research questions are based on the fact that wastewater, sludge and manure constitute a melting pot for interactions between such different bacteria. These interfaces are well suited for the selection and spread of new resistance determinants, which will be transferred to soil and water and potentially recycled into the food chains. CORNELIA will assess the consequences this may have for public and animal health.
The consortium will develop a scientific basis and strategies for a potential national monitoring program for AMR in the environment, as a parallel to the existing surveillance programs in humans, animals, and food. We are also working with two start-up companies to test innovative solutions to reduce the amount of AMR that is released into the environment from treatment plants, using VEAS and OUS as our experimental sites.
The project is a collaboration between NMBU, UiT, FHI, NIBIO, NIVA, OUS, VEAS, Blueshift and Sustaintech.
The One Health perspective is based on an understanding that human, animal and ecosystem health are inextricably linked. As antimicrobial resistance (AMR) exists in and affects all sectors, a One Health approach is required to address the dynamic and cross-sectorial behavior of the current AMR-threat. Environmental compartments as water and soil are dynamic and complex compartments representing important interfaces for all One Health sectors but are yet the most neglected part of One Health-AMR initiatives. The CORNELIA project (Antimicrobial Resistance in One Health Interfaces) challenges the environmental knowledge gap, and addresses development and dissemination of AMR in soil and aquatic environments as they are important interfaces between humans and animals. We do this with an interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial approach, involving participation from all the three pillars of One Health and bringing the biology and technology sectors together in exploiting new technologies for data analysis and surveillance, development of diagnostic tools and establishment of mitigation measures.
CORNELIA is organized into five scientific workpackages, and each workpackage is designed to fill in knowledge gaps described in previous research and risk assessments: 1) Occurrence of AMR in environmental interfaces, 2) New diagnostic tools and new technologies for diagnosis and metagenome and whole genome sequence data, 3) Persistence, transmission and expression of AMR in environmental interfaces, 4) Strategies for surveillance of AMR in the environment, 5) Innovative technologies for AMR mitigation and wastewater treatment.
The comprehensive CORNELIA team consists of scientific partners from NMBU, FHI, UiT, NIBIO, and NIVA, and two start-up companies within wastewater technology; Blueshift AS and Sustaintech AS. Access to relevant sampling and testing of technology are ensured through collaboration with OUS and VEAS.