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ASEF BioX: The issue of excessive or incorrect use of antibiotics in medical treatment

April 17, 2024 | 7:53 pm |

At the March BioX reading group, which took place on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, we were joined by Simona Gričar, ASEF fellow generation 2023. She presented the issue of excessive or incorrect use of antibiotics in medical treatment.

One of the problem areas is the antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms, including bacteria resistant to β-lactam antibiotics. The current gold standard for antimicrobial susceptibility testing is relatively time-consuming (1–7 days) and leads to empirical drug prescribing before the test results are known. Li et al. (2024) decided to study the efficiency and accuracy of the BSV diagnostic sensor (“β-lactamase subtype visualization”), which is a considerably faster method compared to the current antimicrobial susceptibility test. It takes about 3 hours and could enable a faster selection of the appropriate antibiotic according to treatment site test results.

The determination of antimicrobial resistance with the diagnostic sensor is based on the classification of the infection into different groups according to the demonstrated resistance to β-lactam antibiotics. Classification of microorganisms into the mentioned groups takes place by determining the positive reaction of the sample with four different molecules (the splitting of bonds in the molecule). The results showed that the use of the BSV sensor is more accurate for determining therapy compared to empirical drug prescription. However, the method of determining antimicrobial resistance using the BSV diagnostic sensor is still in the research phase, and researchers are also working to develop a sensor for determining fungal infections. The mentioned method also has significant commercial potential and could enable more accurate prescription of antibiotics even in institutions that do not have access to PCR/NGS/MS and similar devices, which can be used to more specifically determine different types of microorganisms.

After the presentation, a fruitful debate took place regarding the current issues in this area and the possibility of mass use of such a sensor in the future.

Source: Li W., Li J., Xu H., Gao H., Liu D. 2024. Rapid and visual identification of β-lactamase subtypes for precision antibiotic therapy. Nature Communications: 15(1), 719, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-44984-y

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