Congratulations to ISG Professors, Hannah Landecker and Megan McEvoy, for their recent publication on Heavy Metal Toxicity in Armed Conflicts Potentiates AMR in A. baumannii by Selecting for Antibiotic and Heavy Metal Co-resistance Mechanisms” (2020).


Over the past decades, Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a major driver of hospital-acquired Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) infections (Manchanda et al., 2010Williams et al., 2016Mancilla-Rojano et al., 2019). In the decades following the Second World War, A. baumannii became one of the most prevalent pathogens during wars in Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq, causing multiple outbreaks of MDR infections among combat casualties (Tong, 1972CDC, 2004Scott et al., 2007Dallo and Weitao, 2010). According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), A. baumannii was the single most isolated Gram-negative bacterium from war wounds during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the number one causative agent of bloodstream infections among the US soldiers (CDC, 2004Fournier et al., 2006). Moreover, the emergence of MDR, Extensively-Drug Resistant (XDR), and Pan-Drug Resistant (PDR) A. baumannii coincided with specific worldwide tension points such as the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) (Matar et al., 1992), Iraq-Iran war (1980–1988), Afghanistan war (2001–2014), Iraq war (2003–2011), and recently the Syrian war (2011–Present) (Tong, 1972CDC, 2004Scott et al., 2007). Warfare is associated with significant heavy metal contamination of the environment, due to destruction of built infrastructure and consequent release of HM and direct contamination from exploded ordnance and leakage from unexploded ordnance. HM resistance in bacteria is associated with antimicrobial resistance. In this review we investigate how heavy metal resistance can lead to antimicrobial resistance with a view to illuminating the emergence A. baumannii’s increased resistance in war regions.

To read more of Landecker and McEvoy’s publication, please click here.