fASTest: Antibiotic susceptibility testing

Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging problem globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death. Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery become very high risk.

Rule'em all

Image credit: Punnoose et al. Antibiotic Resistance. JAMA. 2012;308(18):1934.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common types of infections, with an estimated 92 million people affected worldwide in 2013. There is widespread and strongly increasing resistance development in UTI infections. The lack of personalized treatment and pressure to reduce the use of broad spectrum antibiotics results in a significant risk of prescribing ineffective drugs.

One solution would be an antibiotic susceptibility test that is fast enough to measure the antibiotic response for every case - on site. Is this possible? What are the theoretic limits for the detection time in this case?

To meet the need for fast diagnostics of antimicrobial resistance we present fASTest. By measuring the physiological response at the level of single cells and averaging over the population the test can differentiate between resistant and susceptible bacteria within 3-11 minutes depending on the antibiotics. When tested on clinical samples, fASTest performs as good as the golden standard, which usually takes 2 days to perform. The complete study will soon be available in PNAS.

Rule'em all

The performance of fASTest when measuring E. coli cell responds to Ampicillin (A), Amoxicillin-Clavulanate (B), Ciprofloxacin ©, Doripenem (D), Fosfomycin (E), Levofloxacin (F), Mecillinam (G), Nitrofurantoin (H) and Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (I).

Read the complete article in PNAS