The epidemic of life-threatening infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria is fueling a global healthcare crisis. The problem is fueled by today’s slow diagnostic testing that leads to overuse of powerful resistance-inducing broad-spectrum antibiotics. First Light Diagnostic’s rapid tests can rapidly determine, at the onset of infection, whether a patient is infected and, if so, which antibiotics will most effectively target the infectious pathogen. The tests can thus dramatically improve antibiotic stewardship, the term for the high priority global effort to reduce the spread of resistance by decreasing inappropriate use of antibiotics.
The mortality due to infections caused by resistant bacteria is increasing precipitously. A 2014 report by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimates that by the year 2050, antimicrobial resistance will be responsible for more than 10 million fatalities per year. Global health organizations have mobilized their efforts to combat this epidemic. In the US alone, the CDC has received $160 Million in 2016 specifically to address antibiotic resistance. That figure has grown each year. Antibiotic stewardship programs aiming to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance due to antibiotic overuse are underway globally, nationally, and at individual healthcare institutions.
Slow diagnostic testing is a major cause of the overuse of antibiotics and the spread of antibiotic resistance. Current tests take days to determine whether a patient has an infection and to determine the appropriate antibiotic to kill the infection-causing pathogen. Consequently, many patients that do not have infections are treated unnecessarily. In the absence of diagnostic results, both the uninfected and infected patients are treated with powerful broad-spectrum antibiotics that can cause resistance in a wide range of bacteria. Unfortunately, this includes “good” bacteria that live within our bodies. These broad-spectrum antibiotics are powerful agents whose overuse cause the spread of antibiotic resistance. Plus, they are often less effective for the targeted pathogen therapy that is identified by the slow diagnostic tests days after treatment begins.
First Light Diagnostics’ novel MultiPath™ tests are the first with the potential to determine at the outset – close to the onset of a patient’s symptoms – whether a patient has an infection, and, if so, which targeted narrow-spectrum antibiotic therapies that will most effectively treat the patient’s infection. With results in 4 hours, as compared to the days required by today’s culture-based AST tests, the tests will limit the overuse of antibiotics and improve antibiotic stewardship by ensuring that only infected patients get antibiotics and that the patients that are infected can be treated with a narrow-spectrum antibiotic targeted for the pathogen that is causing the infection.
To learn more about First Light Diagnostics’ industry-changing diagnostic platform, visit www.firstlightdx.com.