Comprehensive testing system
Hospital acquired infections present a serious threat to patients all over the world and are responsible for substantial mortality. Both mortality and economic burden on healthcare are serious consequences. The WHO estimates that 1 in 15 patients in developed countries and 1 in 7 in the low and middle income countries, will acquire infection in the ICU, and 1 of 10 infected will die.
Equally concerning are the increased number of infections being attributed to antimicrobial resistant pathogens, a consequence of indiscriminate use of antibiotics. This phenomenon is significantly associated with longer hospital stays and higher mortality. Antibiotic resistance is being declared as the next silent pandemic of the future, by the World Health Organization. In India where this problem has been highlighted as an acute health concern, Carbapenem, a powerful broad spectrum antibiotic against both gram positive and gram negative bacterial infections is showing very high resistance. A recent study reports that resistance ranges from 53-76% across the major bacterial pathogens known to cause infections in ICU, across UTI and blood stream infections (Lancet, Mathur et al, 2022).
Gold standard tests using microbiology cultures take 24 to 72 hours from sample to results. To avoid life threatening consequences arising from these delays, medical practitioners make empirical decisions on the choice of antibiotic and initiate treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics. Consequently, overuse and wrong selection of antibiotics have caused a gradual development of antibiotic resistance in the population and these bacterial infections, very hard to treat. Therefore, the critical unmet need is to balance timely treatment of the patient with the right choice of antibiotic. Hence, a comprehensive testing system that enables point of care testing and decision making is highly warranted.