About Our Program
"Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus" (NARSA)
The Network on Antimicrobial Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus (NARSA), developed and supported by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is a multidisciplinary international network of basic scientists, clinical microbiologists, and clinical investigators that focus on S. aureus and other staphylococcal species that exhibit antimicrobial resistance. It entails communication links with and among clinical and basic researchers and the NIAID, including an internet website, and annual NARSA Investigator meetings. The NIAID awarded the first seven-year contract to Eurofins Global Central Laboratory, (formerly MRL) to establish and maintain NARSA from April 1999 through April 2006. The second seven-year contract was awarded to Eurofins Global Central Laboratory in September 1, 2007 and is expected to carry through August 31, 2014.
The Network also provides linkage and coordinates with established surveillance networks for nosocomial infections such as the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance (NNIS) System and Project ICARE (Intensive Care Antimicrobial Resistance Epidemiology) conducted by the Hospital Infections Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, (CDC), as well as professional society and industry-supported efforts in this international arena for the purpose of collecting information and obtaining samples of isolates from relevant cases identified through these surveillance systems.
NARSA is responsible for tracking and procuring staphylococcal isolates (including S. aureus and the coagulase-negative staphylococci) with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin (MIC's > 4 mg/ml) for inclusion into a central repository (NARSA Repository). A central repository of these isolates is vital to you and other investigators so as to provide a standardized source of isolates for investigative studies. The NARSA repository is now accepting strains into the repository.
The strains currently being collected for the NARSA Repository are readily available to NIAID funded investigators ("NARSA Core Investigators"), and other researchers who qualify and are approved as "Registered Users". Registered NARSA Users will have access to the Repository and may use the isolates to the fullest potential to increase the knowledge base and affect prudent clinical management approaches to address the critically important public health issue of drug resistance.
Individually and collectively, the studies to be performed by NARSA Registered Users using isolates from the NARSA repository are anticipated to amass a wealth of useful data that will provide detailed information on the patterns of resistance in staphylococcal species in various populations. The well-characterized isolates collected and stored in the centralized NARSA Repository will provide the NARSA Core Investigators and the general scientific community with valuable research resource for multidisciplinary investigation.
The NARSA initiative not only includes providing interesting strains and associated data to the research and clinical communities, but also involves providing a communication network, linked through the NARSA Website, for use among investigators from industry, academia, government, and the public health sectors. This unique initiative is designed to enhance technology transfer by encouraging exchange and collaboration between researchers in the public and private sectors, and to facilitate research and development of vaccines and antimicrobials through open and proactive communication.
The NIAID-funded program has established a Scientific Working Group which is a governing regulatory body that provides guidance and oversight of NARSA activities. This SWG confers monthly, and is charged with among other tasks, selecting and recommending new methods for determining the susceptibility of S. aureus isolates to vancomycin for reviewing, and approving registration applications submitted from the potential users/requestors of isolates which describe the planned use of the isolate(s) to be obtained from the NARSA repository, and providing general oversight and advisory function to support the ongoing and planned activities of the NARSA initiative.
The NARSA Scientific Working Group includes a Core
Investigator Representative (CIR) to suitably represent the needs, concerns and
interests of the NARSA Core Investigators. The elected representative of the
NARSA Core Investigators is Dr. Gordon Archer, Professor of Medicine and
Microbiology/Immunology and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research
NARSA Scientific Working Group (SWG) Membership:
Daniel F.Sahm, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Eurofins Global Central Laboratory, and Principal Investigator of the NARSA project.
Clayton Huntley, Ph.D., Antibacterial Resistance Program Officer, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.
C. Gale Auguste, M.S., NARSA Project Officer, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.
Brandi Limbago, Ph.D., Lead, Antimicrobial
Resistance and Characterization Laboratory, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Gordon L. Archer, MD, Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research Training, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, and Core Investigator Representative.
Barry Kreiswirth, Ph.D., Director, PHRI TB Center, Public Health Research Institute, New Jersey University of Medicine and Dentistry.
In an effort to promote and facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations and to ensure that these valuable resources are directed toward the best and highest priority research, NARSA developed a well-defined registration process and procedure that serves to evaluate and screen requests for access to NARSA isolates, and is necessary in order to be granted status as a NARSA "Registered User". To qualify as a Registered User, you must be a Principal Investigator, Laboratory Director, or equivalent (public or academic institution), or a Director of Research or equivalent (private or for-profit institution). You must also provide evidence of microbiology experience and show your capability to handle BSL2 organisms according to established national biosafety standards. The registration process must be followed by all scientists potentially interested in acquiring isolates or in reviewing scientific data from the NARSA Repository, and involves the completion and execution of a Registration Form. Please read Registration Instructions carefully before filling out the Registration Form to make sure you are eligible. Clear and concise instructions accompany the form and should be followed very carefully so as to ensure that no delay is encountered in the processing and submission of the registration. The Registration Form also requires the submission of a description of the investigator's area of research focus, including a biosketch of the recipient investigator, for review and approval by the NARSA Scientific Working Group, which convenes on a monthly basis.
All applicants will be notified promptly after the review process and, if approved as a registered user, a password will be assigned and issued to allow for access to appropriate repository, and on-line ordering options located on the NARSA website.