One of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development
Some infections have already become impossible to treat
By 2050 antimicrobial resistance could reduce global GDP by 3.5%
By 2050 antimicrobial resistance may cause 10 million deaths per year
Diagnosis allowing smarter antimicrobial use is key to progress
Antibiotics are an essential component to many modern disease treatments. It is not just the treatment of infectious diseases that relies on antibiotics; both cancer treatments and surgical procedures depend on antibiotics to prevent infections. Different infections are caused by different types of organisms, those being bacterial, viral, fungal or protozoan. Different antibiotics are effective against these different infectious agents, and using the right treatment for the right infection is essential for it to be effective. However, it is often impossible to identify a disease by symptoms alone. Usually the only way of identifying the species, and thus the correct treatment to give, is via advanced diagnostic techniques. The faster and more accurately a diagnostic result can be achieved, the better the patient outcomes are, and the less likely an infectious disease is to spread.
Causes of resistance
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a natural phenomenon driven by the use of antimicrobial agents in healthcare, agriculture and the environment. By using incorrect, low doses or incomplete regimes of antimicrobial agents, microorganisms can, over time, evolve a tolerance to those treatments. As this process repeats, microorganisms can become more and more resistant until the treatment ceases to work at all. Eventually infections can become untreatable. This is already happening, and tragically for some people it is already too late.
AMR is a complex and multifactorial problem with no single solution. Combating AMR requires a combination of disease prevention and more judicious use of antimicrobial agents. One way to both better prevent infectious diseases and better use antimicrobial agents is to use more accurate and faster disease diagnostics. By understanding the cause of an infection quickly, most effective treatment can be given before the disease spreads. Infections can then be monitored until the disease is eradicated and it is unlikely that no residual potentially resistant infection will recur.
At Biotangents we are developing the next generation of diagnostic technologies. By delivering rapid, accurate and actionable results to veterinarians we aim to minimise the spread of animal diseases and maximise all of the societal benefits which will result.
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World Health Organisation. Antimicrobial resistance [Internet]. Who.int. 2019. [Available from: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/antimicrobial-resistance]
Holmes A, Moore L, Sundsfjord A, Steinbakk M, Regmi S, Karkey A et al. Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance. The Lancet. 2016;387(10014):176-187.