Novel Method for Rapid Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing


Increasing pressures on health services globally have led to the over-prescription of commonly used antibiotics, more instances of mis-prescription and subsequently, the emergence of antibiotic resistance and an increased reliance on antibiotics of last resort. As such, there is great interest in the development of a technique to determine in a short time frame (preferably during a visit to a GP) the antibiotic most suitable to treat a bacterial infection for a given patient. A particular example is potential urinary tract infections.


Previous efforts to develop a phenotypic technique for antimicrobial susceptibility testing which could work on a useful timescale (<30 mins) have not been successful, primarily due to prohibitively long lag phases of microbial regrowth. A novel method has been developed to overcome this limitation. This technology exploits the reduction in lag phase when inoculation into rich medium is performed and the use of flow cytometry to detect rapid changes in cell number, morphology and physiology of bacteria. Using this approach, antibiotics may be identified to which a given microbe is both susceptible and resistant, facilitating the rapid and most effective prescription of antibiotics for treatment. The technology may also be applied to rapid screening of the phenotypic effects of novel compounds, to aid in drug re-positioning efforts or for the evaluation of combinations of antibiotics to identify synergistic cocktails.

Novel Method for Rapid Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing

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      Other technologies that are currently in development are generally focused upon genotypic methods. This technology however is a phenotypic technique capable of assessing antibiotic activity against organisms in the sample itself.


      This technology is ideal for development into a simple, benchtop flow cytometer that could be introduced into GP surgeries, or similar, in order to ensure that patients leave the surgery with the correct antibiotics.


      Priority application filed on 26th Nov 2018.


      Seeking partners for licensing or assignment.


      Technical questions:

      Professor Douglas Kell, School of Chemistry, The University of Manchester, M13 9PL

      Further Information:

      Allan Prits, Head of Marketing, UMIP, Core Technology Facility, 46 Grafton Street,Manchester, M13 9NT