Research, Antimicrobial Resistance

Kick-off of a Project to Accelerate and Facilitate the Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections

BL-DetecTool seeks to validate a test for rapid and easy detection of bacteria resistant to betalactam antibiotics

Photo: Titus322

The kick-off meeting of BL-DetecTool, a project that seeks to optimise and validate a rapid, cheap and affordable test to detect the presence of betalactam-resistant bacteria, took place in Paris on January 7 and 8. The project is funded by EIT Health (European Institute for Innovation and Technology), and led by the Centre aux Energies Atomiques (CEA) in France. ISGlobal, an institution supported by the “la Caixa” Foundation, will participate in the validation of the diagnostic tool and will lead the work-package on communication and result dissemination.  

The rise in infections by enterobacteria resistant to betalactam antibiotics (including penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems) in the clinical setting is a major public health issue. To avoid the spread of such bacteria and adapt the treatment as quickly as possible, tools that allow their rapid detection and identification are necessary. However, existing methods are laborious (they require bacterial isolation) and time-consuming (more than 16 hours).  

The goal of BL-DetecTool is to optimise and validate a rapid and simple test to detect bacteria producing extended spectrum beta-lactamases and carbapenemases (enzymes that degrade betalactams). Antibody-mediated detection of these enzymes is done on a nitrocellulose “strip” enclosed in a plastic device that will be produced by 3D printing. The process will be adapted to fit with clinical habits and specificity and sensitivity requirements, and a cost-effective analysis will also be carried out.

“The idea is that, at the end of the one-year project, we will have defined a business plan to facilitate its transfer to the market and its implementation in health care facilities” says Clara Ballesté, coordinator of the Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative at ISGlobal, who will participate in the project together with Jordi Vila, director of the same initiative.