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Point-of-Care Device to Reduce Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing Time from Days to Minutes

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 13 Sep 2023

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant global health issue, currently leading to over 1.27 million deaths worldwide each year. By 2050, AMR could be causing up to 10 million deaths annually, surpassing even cancer and diabetes. One of the consequences of rising AMR is that medicine could revert back to a time before antibiotics, jeopardizing even routine surgeries. One of the main types of infections contributing to this issue is urinary tract infections (UTIs). They are a leading cause of sickness and death and are closely linked with sepsis cases. There is a critical need for quick diagnostic tests to determine the most effective antibiotic treatment for each case. Now, a point-of-care diagnostic platform can not only detect bacterial presence but also guide clinicians to choose the best antibiotic treatment.

Microplate Dx (Glasgow, UK) has combined novel hardware with proprietary data processing algorithms to develop a rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing platform. Initially aimed at UTIs, the company has already conducted multiple successful clinical trials of its platform. A urine sample is simply added to a cartridge, which is then placed in the device, and results are available in less than an hour. This quick and affordable system aims to eliminate the current practice of 'best-guess' prescriptions, thereby promoting better use of antibiotics and ultimately reducing resistance and saving lives.

Image: The rapid diagnostic test could pinpoint the correct antibiotic for infection treatment in under an hour (Photo courtesy of Microplate Dx)
Image: The rapid diagnostic test could pinpoint the correct antibiotic for infection treatment in under an hour (Photo courtesy of Microplate Dx)

The product is currently in its prototype phase, with Microplate Dx planning more clinical trials for 2024/25. The company aims to launch the product in pharmacies across Europe and is also considering entering the US market. Although the company is initially focusing on UTIs, the versatility of its platform opens the doors for expanding to test for other drug-resistant infections like respiratory tract issues, sepsis, meningitis, and fungal infections.

“Our mission at Microplate Dx is to improve the quality of lives for patients by providing antimicrobial stewardship cost-effectively. Any delay in identifying the correct antibiotic for treatment can put lives at risk and huge pressure on clinical decision-making, especially when the antibiotic sensitivity data that Microplate Dx can produce in an hour or less compared to the current approach that can take two days using existing techniques,” said Dr. Stuart Hannah, Microplate Dx CEO. “Early clinical benchmark testing relating to urinary tract infections has been positive and the company now intends to target scale-up both commercially and technically. Early prescribing of appropriate antibiotics to patients, so-called ‘personalized prescribing’, is vital to combat antimicrobial resistance on a global scale, and for serious infections, early intervention will save countless lives.”

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