The antimicrobial resistant organisms (AMRO), also known as superbugs, are invisible and can survive up to three days on certain surfaces. This means they can be transferred whenever an infected person simply touches another, or by contact with an object on which the bugs are thriving, such as a stethoscope or a TV remote. Infections caused by these microorganisms often fail to respond to standard treatment, resulting in prolonged hospital stays, higher healthcare costs, and an increased risk of death.
To address this problem in an innovative way, the ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP project, led by Dr. Enrique Limón, researcher at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) was launched last September 1st. The project, which will last for four years, is part of the pre-commercial procurement (PCP) initiatives funded by the European Commission’s H2020 framework program.
"Resistance to antibiotics varies depending on geographic location and is directly proportional to the use and misuse of antibiotics," explains Dr. Enrique Limón. "There are active surveillance systems, implemented in all European states, thanks to which infections by resistant microorganisms have decreased in recent years, but unfortunately the efforts made so far are not enough to eradicate them."
The microbiology services play a fundamental role in the identification and monitoring of "superbugs", but time of diagnosis remains as an unresolved issue that affects all prevention and treatment strategies carried out by the infectious diseases services; that is the main reason behind ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP. "We want to challenge the industry to develop innovative, smart ICT solutions that detect the presence of resistance microorganisms, give real-time feedback to the user and share the information with the healthcare provider's electronic record systems linking the infection with the place of detection" says Dr. Limón.
Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) is the acquisition of research and development of new innovative solutions before they become available on the market. The support of European Commission to the CPP projects is expanding in its latest Horizon 2020 framework program, with financial incentives such as the PCP Co-Fund actions available for consortia of public procurers working together on joint PCPs within the domain of research and innovation defined under each different program.
Image: Infections caused by superbugs often fail to respond to standard treatment, resulting in prolonged hospital stays, higher healthcare costs, and an increased risk of death.