Superheroes against Superbugs (SaS) spearheaded an educational event, the inaugural “AMR Frontline Workshop”, in collaboration with LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI). Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation funded-Alliance for Pathogen Surveillance Innovations (APSI)-India, with Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), and Infection Control Academy of India (ICFAI) as knowledge partners, this workshop focused on the pressing issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) for budding medical professionals . 


The workshop, conducted at LVPEI on June 23, 2023, engaged over 85 future guardians of health from leading medical institutions of India- Apollo Institute of Medical Sciences, Osmania Medical College, and AIIMS Bibinagar. The workshop targeted medical students aged 18-21 in their second year of study, aligning with their coursework in microbiology and pharmacology to enhance their practical understanding of AMR. This timing is key to embedding early awareness and understanding of AMR, preparing future healthcare professionals to address AMR’s challenges effectively. The goal is to shape informed habits and proactive response to AMR, contributing to improved patient care and a robust approach to combating AMR in their future medical practices.

The participants were immersed in a rich learning environment, comprising expert lectures, laboratory tours that unveiled the behind-the-scenes world of microbiology and infection control, and insights into alternatives to antibiotics.


Diving Deep into AMR: Insightful Expert Talks and Discussions


The workshop included talks from distinguished experts: Dr. Ranga Reddy Burri, President of the Infection Control Academy of India, Dr. Prashant Garg, Executive Chair and Ophthalmologist at LV Prasad Eye Institute, Dr. Bhupesh Bagga, Cornea and Anterior Segment Consultant at LVPEI, and Dr. Joveeta Joseph, Head of Microbiology Services at LVPEI Network. They provided valuable insights on various dimensions of AMR. 


The keynote address at the workshop was given by Dr. Ranga Reddy Burri, an advocate for AMR awareness. He introduced the medical students to the critical issue of AMR, emphasizing its potential to cause major health and economic impacts globally. Dr. Reddy highlighted the urgency of addressing AMR and emphasised that it is no longer a ‘silent’ pandemic but very much a visible issue of pandemic proportions that needs urgent action.

In addition to these insights, he emphasized the importance of communicating the complexities of AMR in terms that the general public can easily understand. By doing so, he underlined the crucial role that public awareness plays in the fight against AMR. Dr. Reddy advocated for the need to engage the public actively in this battle, highlighting their essential role in contributing to the spread of AMR and the importance of taking collective steps to prevent and control it. His address not only informed the students but also inspired them to view AMR as a multifaceted challenge that requires a collaborative approach to tackle effectively.


The following speaker, Dr. Prashant Garg focused on clarifying the complexities of AMR for the students. He began by addressing the fundamental question of why AMR occurs, shedding light on how the widespread and often indiscriminate use of antibiotics has accelerated the development of resistance. Dr. Garg took the students through a historical perspective, discussing the discovery of antibiotics and their critical role during the World Wars, which marked the beginning of a new era in medical treatment. This part of his talk underscored the evolving nature of bacterial resistance and its implications for modern medicine.

Focusing on his specialization, Dr. Garg highlighted the specific challenges and developments related to AMR in ophthalmology. He pointed out how eye infections and treatments are uniquely affected by AMR, making it a crucial area of study for aspiring ophthalmologists.


Next, Dr. Joveeta Joseph took the stage to delve into the microbiology aspects of AMR. Her session was notably interactive, beginning with questions to gauge the students’ baseline knowledge of AMR from their MBBS microbiology courses. This approach effectively bridged the gap between theoretical learning and the practical understanding of AMR.

Dr. Joseph’s discussion covered a wide range of topics, starting with the biology of AMR. She explained how resistance develops and spreads among bacteria and other microbes, and the mechanisms of transmission of resistant infections. Her talk then moved on to critical strategies like antibiotic stewardship programs and the role of One Health approach to combat AMR at all levels.

In a particularly interesting segment of her talk, Dr. Joseph explored alternatives to traditional antibiotics. She introduced concepts like phage therapy, the use of lysins and probiotics, and how peptides and immune stimulation can be effective in treating infections in clinical settings. This part of her presentation offered a glimpse into the innovative and emerging therapies in the fight against AMR, highlighting the evolving landscape of medical treatment and the need for continuous learning and adaptation in medical practice.



The final presentation of the day was delivered by Dr. Bhupesh Bagga. He began by discussing the significant impact AMR has in clinical settings, particularly in the field of ophthalmology. Dr. Bagga shared several case studies from his own practice, illustrating the real-world challenges posed by AMR. He detailed the complexities of each case, the obstacles encountered, and the strategies he employed to manage and overcome these AMR-related issues.

The highlight of Dr. Bagga’s session was the medical theater. SaS team member, Ms Manvi Sharma, and microbiology PhD researchers- Ms Dhanwini Rudraprasad, Ms Suchita Pandey and optometrist and PhD scholar Ms Ketaki Jain donned the roles of clinician, patient, caregiver and optometrist respectively, while Dr. Bagga guided the participants through a live case study in the form of a roleplay. This engaging and educational experience not only demonstrated the practical aspects of handling AMR in a clinical situation but also allowed the students to actively participate and apply their learning in a simulated real-life setting. This live case study was a fitting conclusion to the day’s talks, leaving a lasting impression on the workshop attendees.


Enhancing Engagement: Interactive Hands-On Activities and Creative Competitions

While the talks were a crucial component of the workshop, they were just one part of the comprehensive educational experience. In addition to the insightful presentations, the students also enthusiastically engaged in various interactive and hands-on activities.


Lab tours were an integral part of the program, providing the students with a firsthand glimpse into research at LVPEI. They observed how antibiotic susceptibility testing and reporting of patient samples is undertaken, led by PhD student Ms Agimanailiu K and technician Ms Roshini Karoliya. Additionally, the students got to see firsthand how advancements in diagnostics can help tackle the problem of AMR. A significant part of the tour was the visit to the lab of Dr Sanhita Roy focused on developing antimicrobial peptides as an alternative to traditional antibiotics in clinical settings. This provided the students with an understanding of the innovative approaches being explored to tackle AMR, through an engaging discussion with PhD scholar Ms Priyasha Mishra. The students also visited the Ramayamma International Éye Bank at LVPEI, the largest anywhere in the world outside the US, to understand the strict aspetic and infection control practices implemented in such facilities while also witnessing the intriguing process of cornea storage after harvesting for transplantation. This part of the tour was led by eye bank technicians Mr G Srinivas and Ms Sushma Kuttukam.


An antibiotic crossword challenged students’ knowledge of AMR, enhancing their learning in a fun, interactive way. Creative competitions like ‘Break the Taboo: AMR edition’ and a digital poster contest also played a key role, allowing students to express their understanding of AMR creatively. The themes and formats of these competitions were carefully chosen to encourage innovative thinking and to enable students to apply their knowledge in unique and expressive ways.


Following the group exercise, the workshop culminated in a highly anticipated quiz competition, conducted in two rounds. The first round was an online quiz, featuring 10 questions derived from the expert talks. The top 20 scorers from this initial quiz advanced to the second round, a Jeopardy-style quiz conducted in teams. This round was interactive and engaging, eliciting enthusiasm from both participants and the audience. 

The event concluded with the announcement of the winning team, which received prizes. This interactive quiz not only reinforced the learning from the workshop but also provided an enjoyable and spirited end to the event.


Comprehensive Feedback and Key Learnings: Strategies for Future Endeavors


The student feedback from the workshop provided valuable insights, revealing a strong appreciation for the event’s interactive nature, particularly activities like quizzes, the taboo game, and interactive sessions. The eye bank tour and discussions on antimicrobial peptides and AMR stewardship were also well-received for their rich, focused content. Participants recognized the importance of responsible antibiotic use, AMR awareness, and hygiene and infection control. This was reflected in 76%  attendees feeling more empowered to act against AMR, with their confidence levels often rated between 4 and 5

When asked about three actions they would take post-workshop to prevent AMR, 53% participants responded with a focus on the judicious prescription of antibiotics, 17% said they’ll focus more on hygiene and sanitation whereas 30% participants emphasised on the need of awareness to tackle AMR on all fronts. Additionally, 90% participants showed a high inclination to share the knowledge about AMR with their peers and family. Several participants expressed interest in joining the Superheroes against Superbugs Club in their college.



Looking ahead, participants showed a keen interest in more detailed AMR sessions, practical demonstrations, and additional interactive learning opportunities. Despite enjoying the interactive elements, there was a desire for even more engaging activities to create a more immersive learning environment. This enthusiasm for deeper content exploration and expanding hands-on and interactive experiences indicates that the key takeaways intended to be imparted by the workshop were successfully imbibed by the students, underscoring the event’s effectiveness.

The overall positive reception of the workshop, combined with these suggestions, points to its success in both educating and motivating students, while also providing direction for further enhancing future events.