The ARMORD Study 


What is the purpose of this study?

Our research aims to find out more about how the bacteria that live in our gut can develop resistance to antibiotics. We can do this by studying the DNA of bacteria from poo samples. We aim to use this information to prevent people getting drug resistant infections, and keep antibiotics effective now and for future generations.

You can read more about it in our ARMORD Participant Information Sheet

Why are we doing this study?

We face a future where disease-causing bacteria have become resistant to all the antibiotics used to treat them. We are seeing a rapid increase in antibiotic resistance in the bacteria causing infections. A report from the UK government estimated that a drug-resistant infection is the cause of death in up to 700,000 people a year in the UK. We are also seeing an increase in resistance in the ‘good’ bacteria which live harmlessly around us and on us.

Our bodies contain billions of microbes- bacteria, viruses and other tiny living things. We call this the ‘human microbiome’. The human gut contains billions of these ‘good’ bacteria, which help our digestion, and protect us from disease-causing bacteria. When we take antibiotics, these antibiotics may treat an infection, but they can also encourage the ‘good’ bacteria living in us to become resistant to antibiotics too.  Other factors may also affect the gut bacteria, such as the food we eat, the places we have travelled, and whether we have been in contact with hospitals. We want to study these factors, so we can find ways of preventing bacteria becoming more resistant. We also want to understand whether carrying more resistant bacteria in our guts increases the risk of getting a resistant infection in the future. Some studies have shown that antibiotics may have long term effects on the gut bacteria, and the effects of the gut bacteria on infections and health may only be seen many years later.

We can look at the bacteria in the gut by studying poo samples. Like humans, bacteria have “DNA”, or genetic material which affects how they grow and behave. We can extract the DNA from the gut bacteria, and look for DNA which make them resistant to antibiotics. This allows us to study resistance in many hundreds of different bacteria, rather than just the few bacteria that we can grow in a laboratory. We hope that this information can help us decide which antibiotics to use more or less of in the future, to keep them effective.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistance. We will use the information we learn to communicate with the wider public about the benefits and risks of antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and the healthy bacteria which live with us, to help raise awareness of the need for careful antibiotic use. Our group has an active public engagement programme, including public events and also an artist collaboration. We may use bacteria from your poo samples on projects to help us communicate our research, and important messages about antibiotics and healthy bacteria

Details of and Contacts of Study Team:

The Antibiotic Resistance in the Microbiome of OxfoRD (ARMORD) Study is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, and is sponsored by the University of Oxford.

You can contact the study team: armord@ndm.ox.ac.uk   tel: 01865 222194

Chief Investigator: Dr Nicola Fawcett, Registrar Acute/General Medicine, MRC Clinical Research Fellow

Supervisor: Professor Derrick Crook, Professor in Infectious Diseases

Department of Microbiology, Level 7, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU.


Infographic: How Antibiotic Resistance Happens – reproduced from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, USA.




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