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


Super-porous microspheres for enhancing rapid immuno-diagnosis of bacterial infection

Paddy Tighe (Life Sciences), Lucy Fairclough (Life Sciences), Ian Todd (Life Sciences), Ifty Ahmed (Engineering), Mathew Diggle (Microbiology, NHS) and Vicki Fleming (Microbiology, NHS)

The issue

GPs cannot always tell whether a patient has an infection and cannot determine the specific cause of an infection during an appointment. As a result patients are frequently given unnecessary treatment or treatment with non-targeted medication such as broad-spectrum antibiotics. This is a problem because unnecessary consumption of antibiotics, especially broad spectrum antibiotics, fuels antibiotic resistance (AMR), is extremely expensive and can make patients less healthy. We need practical and cost effective tests to allow doctors to use targeted antibiotics, only when necessary, during their first contact with their patient. 

The research

Previously creating point of care tests such as this have been difficult because researchers have not been able to create sensitive enough microbiological assays that can also be used easily and quickly. Our researchers intend to explore novel porous microspheres which they think might allow them to develop a prototype point of care device suitable for use by a GP. The first step will be to manufacture the microspheres, which will be specifically designed to be highly sensitive. The microspheres will then be tested and compared with commercially produced microbeads in their ability to bind with Pseudomonas antigens. Finally, researchers will develop a prototype lateral flow immunoassay device (examples of lateral flow immunoassays include pregnancy tests) as “proof of principle”.

The impact

There is considerable need within NHS to rapidly identify bacterial infections at first point of contact within primary and secondary healthcare settings. Our approach will lead towards a functional, simple and cost effective point of care test which can be extended to other pathogens in the future, ultimately leading to prompt antimicrobial prescribing, improved AMR stewardship and reductions in AMR.

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