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Disseminating Innovative Solutions for Antibiotic Resistance Management

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - DISARM (Disseminating Innovative Solutions for Antibiotic Resistance Management)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2021-07-01 al 2022-06-30

The rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria poses a severe threat to safeguarding both human and animal health and welfare in the future. Due to inappropriate and overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and livestock farming, pathogenic bacteria become resistant against different types of antibiotics, leaving fewer options for successful treatment of infections by these resistant bacteria. Furthermore, the risk is real that resistant bacteria get transferred between humans and animals in both directions. To limit this spread of antibiotic resistance it is therefore very important to reduce the use of antibiotics to a prudent and safe application in order to maintain the efficacy of the drugs for the benefit of both human and animal health and welfare. To shift towards more responsible and prudent use of antibiotics, effort is needed to adopt new techniques and innovations and apply emerging knowledge to practice. The Horizon 2020 DISARM thematic network aimed at assisting the European livestock industry to reduce its use of antibiotics to a prudent level by focusing on animal health and disease management to reduce the need for antibiotics. This assistance lied in the development of a network between relevant actors in the industry: farmers, veterinarians, farm advisors and suppliers, researchers and policy makers. The project aimed at accelerating the exchange of knowledge, best practice, emerging techniques and innovations between these actors to speed up the transition of the livestock industry towards one that is even more focused on prevention, biosecurity, alternatives to antibiotics and limited but precise use of antibiotics. Therefore our activities focussed on collecting best practice examples, new innovations and techniques relevant to the issue and promote and disseminate these to a broad audience. Knowledge and experience exchange were organized both on- and off- line as well as on regional, national and international level. We believe in the power of team collaboration to improve livestock farming. With our actions we promoted the establishment of multi-actor farm health teams consisting of the farmer, the herd veterinarian and feed or farm advisors to collaborate on a concrete action plan to improve farm animal health.
We have established an online community of practice which actors from the livestock industry, researchers and policy makers can join to meet each other and discuss and exchange knowledge and experience. All discussions take place in the framework of 10 specific topics that relate to disease prevention, biosecurity, optimal housing and animal management and alternatives for and prudent use of antibiotics.
A freely accessible database has been established as a repository for all relevant information on innovations, strategies and best practices. This database provides concise farmer friendly summaries with links to the original source of information. In total the database includes 340 research papers and research reports, 46 farm innovations, 82 tools and checklists and 43 industry innovations. Reviewing the material collected in the DISARM project showed a huge variety of publications, which was summarized in a State of the art Report.
To promote the team collaboration in multi-actor farm health teams we have engaged with 42 farms to work as a team on a SMART defined farm action plan that needs to result in improvements of overall performance, better animal health in general, better biosecurity and disease prevention and as a consequence reduce the need for antibiotics. These pilot farms acted as showcases to promote this approach to the wider industry. A farm health team toolbox was also developed to assist easy adoption, also after the end of this project. Furthermore we promoted and explained this approach to other animal health professionals in specific workshops. At the end of the project, the consortium also produced 30 factsheets describing setting of the farms, how the multi actor teams worked together to solve issues (challenges and strategies), the evolution of the biosecurity standards over the course of the observation and the farmers perception of the economic performance of the farm in connection with reduction of antibiotic use.
Since DISARM was a networking project aimed at widespread dissemination a lot of our effort focused on communication and dissemination. This way we have organized general communication to announce our project and expose it the to the wider EU community through press releases, two promotional videos and 2 EU stakeholder events and presence on various social media channels. The projects’ website has been populated with resources since its launch: factsheets, newsletters, practice abstracts, practice video’s, monthly summaries of the CoP reports and public deliverables since its’ launch. The YoutubeChannel has now 134 videos uploaded and 125 subscribers ( A total of 104 practice abstracts have been prepared and corresponding 95 practice videos have been released in our media platforms and 11 project newsletters have been published up to June 2022. A total of 78 self-organised events and workshops organized in 9 partner countries of the DISARM network and one non-EU member state. Also DISARM participated in 97 events in 18 EU member states and 5 non-EU member states. Finally, the DISARM consortium also produced a total of 3 research prioritization reports and one policy brief.
So far we have established an online Community of Practice of 600 members (the goal) in December 2021. At the end of June 2022, we had 629 members. This platform is valuable for connecting stakeholders in the EU and worldwide livestock sector to enable them to share knowledge and experience that can speed up the implementation of promising strategies and innovations that will transform the livestock industry to one fully focused on preventive veterinary medicine rather than relying on curative treatments. With the foreseen toolbox and corresponding workshops we provided the necessary guidance for animal health professionals to adopt the approach in their daily practice. Now that we reached the end of the project we hope that the DISARM website will have become a reference for EU livestock stakeholders where they know to find the resources they need to be inspired and obtain new knowledge on innovations and best practice they can apply to meet the challenge of reducing their use of antibiotics. Furthermore, we work towards a sustainable legacy of the project by associating with the Horizon Results Booster service to establish the ArMoR project group partnership comprised of DISARM, AVANT, HealthyLivestock, ROADMAP and AMRILS. ROADMAP have adopted management of the CoP, renamed the Animal Health & Antibiotics Network to continue this online community beyond DISARM.
Further legacy items were a resource decision tree to help direct different audiences to relevant materials; an upcoming scientific publication about the multi-actor farm health approach to promote it within academic fields; a Policy Brief; a series of E-learning presentations, and finally a collaboration with the EUREKA project to include DISARM’s key results the EU Farmbook.