National networks of laboratory-based surveillance of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) monitor resistance trends and disseminate these data to AMR stakeholders. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can support surveillance by pinpointing resistance mechanisms and uncovering transmission patterns. However, genomic surveillance is rare in low- and middle-income countries. Here, we implement WGS within the established Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program of the Philippines via a binational collaboration. In parallel, we characterize bacterial populations of key bug-drug combinations via a retrospective sequencing survey. By linking the resistance phenotypes to genomic data, we reveal the interplay of genetic lineages (strains), AMR mechanisms, and AMR vehicles underlying the expansion of specific resistance phenotypes that coincide with the growing carbapenem resistance rates observed since 2010. Our results enhance our understanding of the drivers of carbapenem resistance in the Philippines, while also serving as the genetic background to contextualize ongoing local prospective surveillance.
Centre for Genomic Pathogen Surveillance, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK.