The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as one of the top 10 global health threats facing humanity. Projections warn that antimicrobial-resistant infections have the potential to become the leading cause of death by 2050.
Recognizing the need for action on this pressing public health issue, Vivli joined forces with Wellcome in 2022 to launch the AMR Register. This innovative resource houses a growing collection of datasets shared by industry partners, offering consolidated access to surveillance data collected on dozens of antimicrobial interventions.
To raise awareness and encourage reutilization of this wealth of data, Wellcome funded the launch of the AMR Data Challenge in April 2023. The event offered a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary teams to access and leverage high-quality AMR surveillance data, and 56 teams from 28 countries submitted project proposals. The participating teams submitted a wide range of innovative proposals, making use of datasets contributed by GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Paratek, Pfizer, Shinogi, and Venatorx.
Submitted proposals were assessed by a judging panel of international experts, who selected six outstanding proposals for recognition as winners of the AMR Surveillance Open Data Reuse Data Challenge. The team that received the Grand Prize was led by Dr. Fredrick Mutisya, Health Data Scientist & Medical Doctor of Narok County, Kenya, and Dr. Rachael Kanguha, Pediatrician, Chuka County Referral Hospital, Kenya.
Their groundbreaking work involved training machine learning models on the Pfizer ATLAS datasets and the development of a novel artificial intelligence web application capable of predicting antibacterial/antifungal susceptibility. Their proposal notes that traditional methods of prediction have proved insufficiently dynamic to cope with the growing amount of genomic data available, or to effectively monitor and predict trends in antimicrobial resistance, leaving gaps in researchers’ understanding and ability to respond. Their goal is to showcase the best predictive model in order to enable proactive measures and early detection of emerging resistance patterns, and provide a model for ethically and effectively integrating AI into an evidence-based epidemiology approach.
Dr. Mutisya expressed his team’s commitment to AMR and highlighted the importance of providing equitable data accessibility to scientists from his region:
“Our team feels incredibly privileged to have participated in such a meaningful data challenge. Winning the grand prize not only fills us with a profound sense of fulfillment but also ignites a stronger motivation within us to continue seeking solutions for global issues, especially in combating antimicrobial resistance,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to Vivli for providing a platform that facilitates data accessibility. This is particularly significant for scientists like us hailing from the Global South, where opportunities like these are often scarce.”
Five other teams, including scientists from Australia, China, France, India, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were recognized by the judging panel for proposals which demonstrated notable impact and innovation. A complete list of the winning proposals and finalists is available on the Vivli AMR platform.
Members of the judging panel commented favorably on the excellent quality of the proposals submitted, the innovative approaches used, and creative solutions developed. One of the judges, Professor Marc Mendelson, also noted the importance of open access to data, calling it “a fundamental key to driving innovation towards a better understanding of AMR and the mitigation of this global health crisis.”
The Challenge is over for 2023, but the work of fighting AMR goes on. If you are interested in accelerating research and tackling a global public health challenge at the same time, explore Vivli’s AMR surveillance data sharing platform and find out how you can request access to data.