Simultaneous Detection of Infection and Antibiotic Resistance
Bath, UK, 11 June 2015. Atlas Genetics Ltd (“Atlas” or the “Company”), the ultra-rapid ‘test and treat’ molecular diagnostics company, today announces a collaboration with St George’s, University of London to develop and evaluate DNA-based point of care tests which can simultaneously detect both infection and antibiotic resistance in a patient within the same clinical visit.
The programme has been awarded £1.5 million by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme.
Antibiotic resistance represents a huge challenge to current medical practices which rely on the use of antibiotics. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics in a number of ways through mutations or the addition of new genetic elements. Rising antibiotic resistance cannot only lead to patient treatment failure, but the uncertainty of an antibiotic’s efficacy can drive clinicians towards the routine use of increasingly more potent antibiotics for simple infections, often at an increased cost to the health service. This cycle escalates the risk of bacteria developing resistance to these antibiotics, potentially reducing their clinical utility in the future.
Researchers at St George’s Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit have developed genetic assays which can identify the specific mutations that signpost resistance and therefore guide appropriate treatment. These assays are applicable to a wide range of bacteria, but the initial focus is on those bacteria where widespread resistance is becoming a major global concern. Atlas Genetics is integrating these assays on to the io® system to provide both bacterial identification and antibiotic resistance in a single 30 minute test. The project includes healthcare professional and patient input into the design of the test and will conclude with a 1,000 patient clinical study, coordinated by St George’s and is expected to be complete in 2017.
John Clarkson, CEO of Atlas Genetics, said: “Our cutting-edge diagnostic technology will enable patients to get their test results faster and guide clinicians to the best treatment option within a single appointment. This is an essential step in making sure antibiotics are used correctly every time and we are excited to be part of the solution to antibiotic resistance in the UK and globally.”
Dr Tariq Sadiq, Chief Investigator at St George’s, commented: “This process of diagnosis has already been shown to be very reliable and so we are confident that we will be able to identify which drugs to use to successfully treat the infection. Within one short visit, patients will get their diagnosis and a bespoke treatment. We believe that this test-and-treat method will reinforce clinicians’ confidence in the antibiotics they choose for their patients.”