IMPRINT: Defining pathogen-specific IMmune PRedictors of bloodstream INfecTion outcomes

The past 20 months has provided a front row seat to the ravaging effects of a virus on the global population. During this time, scientists have responded with a momentous research effort, which has yielded unprecedented levels of understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID-19 disease and importantly how our immune system responds to it. This has directly facilitated development of new vaccines and effective therapeutics in record time. We now have an opportunity to build on this momentum to advance understanding of other infections, for which effective treatments are lacking, such as antibiotic resistant bacteria. Following introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, attention shifted away from the study of bacterial infection, with the assumption that antibiotics were a magic bullet. This was a grave mistake given we now find ourselves in the midst of a crisis, with antibiotics we once relied upon, becoming less and less effective. We urgently need new ways to manage and treat infections such as MRSA against which antibiotics no longer work. Better ways to diagnose the type of infection that is occurring would reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics while development of new vaccines would prevent infections in the first place. This project will investigate how the immune system responds to infection with important antimicrobial resistant bacteria and establish if distinct patterns of immune cells are activated in patients during an infection which can be used to a) diagnose what particular bacteria is causing the infection and b) determine how severe the infection will be in that person. If we can identify these patterns in the immune system, this information can be used to develop new tools to diagnose infection more rapidly and also to develop new vaccines. Doing so would improve infection management and patient care, ultimately helping to stem the tide of antimicrobial resistance.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Rachel McLoughlin
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin