Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance
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Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance


Desktop Viral Diagnostic: Reducing the use of antibiotics in the treatment of respiratory tract infections

Jon Aylott (Pharmacy), William Irving (Life Sciences), Veeren Chauhan (Pharmacy)

The issue

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are one of the most common ailments in the UK today; more than one in five GP consultations are in regards to an RTI. RTIs are usually caused by a bacteria or a virus, but antibiotics should not be given as a treatment for those with viral RTIs. It is often hard to determine the cause of an RTI and the prevalence of the condition has resulted in the overprescribing of antibiotics, which in turn has led to the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR is a huge threat to our future and to modern medicine, which relies on effective microbial control.

The research

Researchers at the University of Nottingham decided to counteract this problem by developing a novel point-of-care diagnosis tool for GPs dealing with RTIs. By creating a diagnostic that is highly sensitive to viruses, it would be possible to determine whether a patient is suffering from a viral infection within the constraints of a typical 10 minute consultation.

The creation of a gold-aptamer nanoparticle-based lateral flow device was a major step forward in this research. These gold nanoparticles are easily to manufacture, and highly sensitive to specific biomarkers. Through the efforts of our world-leading researchers the idea was taken from principle to concrete result, where the diagnostic method has been shown to work in a laboratory environment.

The impact

By proving that this system works, the technology is now ready for further funding to test it in clinical settings, and develop a working prototype. Such a device would be cheap, easy to produce and extremely effective in preventing the overprescribing of antibiotics. A sure-fire way to quickly diagnose the Common Cold could ultimately save lives, and reduce antimicrobial resistance.

If you are interested in finding out more about this research or about Bridging the Gaps please be in contact with Harry Moriarty in the first instance.

Bridging the Gaps: Antimicrobial Resistance

School of Mathematical Science
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 6317