Home » Antimicrobial Resistance » Combatting antimicrobial resistance: molecular diagnostics holds the key

Tuomas Tenkanen

CEO, Mobidiag

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are one of the major threats to the global healthcare system. Some have commented that it is a more immediate threat to us than global warming.

A UK independent review estimated that, unless effective action is taken, drug-resistant strains of certain bacterial infections will claim 10 million lives each year by 2050. This would be a horrific and tragic loss of life. The unchecked spread of infectious diseases was also predicted to result in an economic cost of 100 trillion USD over the next 35 years(1).

“The threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and infectious diseases is rising. We will need all branches of the global healthcare system to take responsibility for their approach to antibiotics and work together to sustain them for future use – this includes clinicians, providers, companies and patients alike,” says Tuomas Tenkanen, CEO of Mobidiag.

“Even before treating conditions related to AMR, it is fundamental that we become smarter at identifying antibiotic resistant bacteria – and their sensitivity to antibiotics – using molecular diagnostics. Many molecular diagnostic systems available today can be complicated and expensive to use,” he continues.

Highly versatile platforms enabling broad application of molecular diagnostics

At Mobidiag our mission is to develop innovative molecular solutions to address the challenges of AMR and infectious diseases by providing diagnostic tools that can rapidly, accurately and affordably detect both pathogens and antibiotic resistances to guide treatment protocols and avoid the misuse of antibiotics.

To address this challenge, we have developed two highly versatile, combined solutions, for affordable and differentiated AMR testing. The first is an advanced, cartridge-based multiplex PCR system providing highly sensitive results on demand; and the second a higher throughput diagnostic platform allowing for automated, mid to high-volume lab-based routine testing. Together, these platforms meet the differing needs of customers in multiple healthcare settings.

Unlocking the potential of molecular diagnostics to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance

Beta-lactams are by far the most used antibiotics worldwide and include carbapenems which are the most effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, during the last decade, Gram-negative bacilli (in particular Enterobacteriaceae) with a decreased susceptibility to carbapenems have been increasingly reported worldwide.

There is also a growing resistance to ‘last resort’ antibiotics such as vancomycin and colistin. With the aforementioned developments, our tests offer unique solutions to detect main CPO(2), colistin and vancomycin resistance markers.

In 2017, the World Health Organization designated clarithromycin-resistant Helicobacter pylori a high priority for antibiotic research and development. Mobidiag offers a non-invasive qualitative multiplex real-time PCR test for identifying both H. pylori and its clarithromycin resistance directly from stool and gastric biopsies.

Finally, sepsis is a global healthcare issue and continues to be the leading cause of death from infection. AMR can jeopardise clinical management of sepsis because empirical antibiotic treatment is often required. “We are working to develop a revolutionary assay for quick detection of sepsis directly from blood”, Tenkanen confirms.

(1)Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations, The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance Chaired by Jim O’Neill, December 2014(2)CPO: Carbapenemase producing organisms including the family of Enterobacteriaceae, Acinetobacters and Pseudomonas.

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