Saving lives with the right antibiotic

Article of 26 March 2021 

Antibiotikum

Until now, it would typically take two to four days for clinicians to find out the best, most effective antibiotic to prescribe to patients with an infection. A new diagnostic platform finds the right drug, for targeted therapy within 24 hours. Included: dosing heads and handling portals from Festo.

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the world's deadliest and most costly health threats, according to an U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency. One of the ways these resistances are promoted is by doctors overprescribing the most wide-acting broad-spectrum antibiotics for days. Each use of these powerful antibiotics provides an opportunity for bacteria to evolve.

One reason for this: diagnostic testing used to personalize antibiotic therapy typically takes three or more days to complete. To combat the crisis, we must maximize the speed with which precision therapies can be prescribed.

With a transformative technology developed by the start-up Selux Diagnostics, this time is reduced to less than 24 hours, and for 99% of cases in five hours. As a result, physicians are able to prescribe optimal treatment three to five days sooner, reducing hospital stays and de-escalating the cycle of antibiotic overuse and resistance.

Up to 50 antibiotics on the test bench at the same time

SeLux's solution is called a Next Generation Phenotyping (NGP) platform. Phenotyping in this context means a process that will provide full actionable results indicating which precise therapies will most effectively treat a patient’s infection.

 SeLux NGP determines which antibiotics the pathogen reacts to and to which it is resistant.
SeLux NGP determines which antibiotics the pathogen reacts to and to which it is resistant.

On the NPG platform, the patient's blood plasma or other sample types containing the bacterium is mixed with the different antibiotics. Utilizing 384-well microplates, the system has the capacity to test current and future drugs. Results of the comprehensive analysis are sent to a database. An algorithm checks each dilution of the antibiotic and in this way analyzes which drug responds best at which dosage.

Festo dosing heads and handling portals in use

Several Festo dosing heads and handling portals are installed in the system. With the VTOE and VTOI dosing heads, precise dosing in the microliter range can be achieved. This improves throughput and guarantees reliability and accuracy. The VAEM valve control module enables precise control of the dispensing heads.

Several Festo dosing heads and handling portals are installed in the system.
Several Festo dosing heads and handling portals are installed in the system.

The NPG platform also includes the EXCM-30 handling portal, which moves microplates and transfers them. The EHMD rotary gripper module grips and rotates vials and opens or closes the lids. This makes it ideal for handling patient samples.