AntibioticsAntimicrobial resistance is an increasingly serious threat to global public health. World Health Organization’s (WHO) report published in April 2014 states that “Antibiotic resistance – when bacteria change so antibiotics no longer work in people who need them to treat infections – is now a major threat to public health”.

The results of a recent study presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) has found that a rapid test to detect pathogens and antimicrobial resistance can lead to more sensible use of antibiotics compared to standard testing. This is the first randomized controlled study to evaluate how rapid molecular tests help in providing patient care.

Rapid molecular testing to identify pathogens used in conjunction with antimicrobial checks and balances ensure appropriate clinical response. The study shows that while traditional blood culture diagnostics takes several days to provide results, leading to increased usage of inactive antibiotics and poor outcomes, rapid detection of microorganisms and their drug resistance can help provide treatment at an earlier stage.

The team used U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved molecular rapid diagnostic tool that is ideal to identify 24 different bacteria and fungi and common antimicrobial-resistance genes within 1 hour of organism growth in a blood culture bottle. 617 patients with a new positive blood culture were randomly assigned to receive either standard culture or antimicrobial susceptibility testing, infectious disease panel testing with templated comments, or testing with real-time antimicrobial stewardship. The team concluded that an effective antimicrobial stewardship program is an ideal approach for the utilization of new diagnostic testing methods.

A research report published by Markets and Markets in July 2014 predicts that the global molecular diagnostics market will reach $7,956.9 million by 2018. According to this report, the leading players in this market include – Roche Diagnostics (Switzerland), Gen-Probe (Hologic) (U.S.), QIAGEN (Netherlands), Becton, Dickinson & Company (U.S.), Siemens Healthcare (Germany), bioMérieux (France), Abbott Laboratories (U.S.), Novartis AG (Switzerland), Cepheid (U.S.), and Beckman Coulter (U.S.).