Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a huge burden in terms of mortality and morbidity worldwide. To improve the management of bacterial infections of the respiratory tract, an appropriate antimicrobial therapy should be initiated as soon as possible. This has also been shown to be a key element for reducing morbidity and mortality.
The aim of our project is to develop a panel of dedicated rapid diagnostic tests to allow the medical staff to link antibiotic prescription to evidence-based diagnosis. In our 3 year project, combining Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) and microfluidic technologies will allow to differentiate between infections of viral or bacterial origin. In case of a bacterial infection, a second step will allow to identify the causative bacteria and determine virulence factors and resistance mechanisms. This new tool will be developed for efficient use in clinical settings in order to allow for a better management of antibiotic resistance.
Several direct impacts will be studied either on public health (decrease of antibiotic pressure), efficiency of treatment for patients (decrease of infectivity and speed in accurate treatments), for diagnostic laboratories (improve in turn-around time), for SMEs (better competitiveness) and more generally on technological innovations.
The disease burden for Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) is estimated at 94 037 000 DALYs (Disability-Adjusted-Life-Year) and 4.2 million deaths per year. Lower RTIs (LRTIs) tend to be more severe than Upper-RTIs (URTIs). Acute LRTIs are a persistent and pervasive public health problem. They cause a greater burden of disease worldwide than human immunodeficiency virus infection, malaria, cancer, or heart attacks. Most antibiotic prescription occurs in primary care settings and RTIs are the most common reason for antibiotic prescription. RTIs result in 180 million antibiotic prescriptions per year in the EU while the etiological agent is rarely documented in community-acquired infection
Chips For Life’s final objective is to develop a reliable and specific multiplex diagnostic test coupling MPLA and microfluidics technologies. This test will enable rapid differentiation of a bacterial from a viral aetiology and specifically identify co-infections with several pathogens and their related resistance / virulence profiles.
The multiplex diagnostic tool developed in Chips 4 Life will allow for quicker pathogen profile identification by clinicians and diagnostic labs, and subsequently, a quicker treatment’s adaptation. The overall use of antibiotic will be reduced and especially the broad spectrum antibiotics. By shortening the stay of patients in medical environment the economic burden for society will be alleviated and the occurrence of nosocomial infection will be lessened.
The Chips 4 Life diagnostic test will be used in hospitals and diagnostic laboratories.