How GPs Can Fight Antibiotic Resistance – Diagoras

How GPs Can Fight Antibiotic Resistance – Diagoras


for more than 60 years we relied on
antibiotics to cure infections, without questioning their efficacy. However we
now live in a world where, according to the World Health Organization – WHO,
without urgent action we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common
infections and minor injuries can once again kill. Antibiotic resistant bacteria,
also called superbugs, represent a growing threat to humankind. They are associated with the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. There is a lack of
accurate diagnostic testing that can rapidly detect the presence of
respiratory tract pathogens. Such a test would help slackin superbugs as
respiratory tract infections are one of the major infectious diseases associated
with the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics. To help address the health issue of superbugs,
the European Commission funded the DIAGORAS project. This project gathers ten partners,
from eight European countries, received a grant of 5.6 million euros,
started in June 2015 and will last four years.
A DIAGORAS chairside and rapid diagnostic device for respiratory tract
infections will have been developed This DIAGORAS device will help reduce the burden of
superbugs on global healthcare systems and improve quality of life worldwide.
To understand how the DIAGORAS project can help the general practitioners we invited
Dr. Gijs Elshout, a specialist in family doctor practices in child care to give
his opinion on this innovative device. Between 2013 and 2017 more than 1.8
billion dollars were granted to the research to solve the threat presented
by antimicrobial resistance. However more bacteria are becoming resistant to many
different types of antibiotics. Why? There are various factors related to
antimicrobial resistance and the major factor is the overuse or misuse of
antibiotics in medical care, and it’s especially important to focus on primary
care because most antibiotics are prescribed in primary care. For instance
in the Netherlands, about 3/4 of all antibiotics are prescribed by
general practitioners and the most common infection we see in primary care
are respiratory tract infections and we know that most of those infections are
caused by viruses and antibiotics just don’t work for them. However
it’s really that difficult to find out whether an infection is caused by a
virus or a bacteria so it’s difficult for the GP to decide whether to
prescribe antibiotics or not. How do you diagnose respiratory tract infections
and how do you decide when an analysis is required? Respiratory tract infections
are diagnosed based of patient history and physical examination and we only do
additional analysis when we are in doubt about the diagnosis or about the
severity or cause of the disease. Do you have any tool in your practice to
identify the cause of these infections? In my practice I can measure the
inflammatory marker c-reactive protein also called CRP and I can do a
point-of-care. However it has only limited value in discriminating between
a bacterial and viral infection because there’s a substantial gray area of CRP
values that are inconclusive in terms of further medical management
which is ultimately to whether to prescribe antibiotics or not. If you had a device,
like the one developed by the DIAGORAS project, what could it allow you to do for your
patients in your family practice? In my practice such a device may help me to
determine from a broad range of viruses and bacteria which is the cause of the
respiratory tract infection in my patients. Therefore I can treat only the patients
with a bacterial infection and not treat patients with the viral infection. This may
ultimately lead to less antibiotic prescriptions. This all can be done point-of-care and
within one hour. You are a member of the
DIAGORAS consortium. Can you tell us more about your role in
the DIAGORAS project? I’m an advisor in the DIAGORAS consortium as a potential end user I can tell the
partners which specifications are needed to make sure that the device is helpful
in future patient care. The DIAGORAS project aims at
developing a device and a lab on a disc – the respiratory disc –
which will be able to identify a wide range of pathogens,
viruses and bacteria involved in respiratory tract infections. During the
appointment with the patient, the practitioner will use the device
developed by DIAGORAS to help make a clinical evidence based diagnosis. To ease the work done
by the practitioner the swabs are analysed at the point of care.
The respiratory disc will analyse and measure
the pathogens population in the sample. The results will start being obtained
within an hour speeding up the actual process of diagnosis. The platform will
allow the timely, on-site and evidence-based prescription of
personalized treatment procedures. We all need to take action to help prevent the
worldwide spread of superbugs before they move us backwards to a time when
infections had no cure. The DIAGORAS project partners are hoping to bring the world a
device that will help put an end to the spread of superbugs. To follow the
progress and results of the DIAGORAS project, please visit our website at www.diagoras.eu

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