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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

New test helps tackle major threat to global health: superbugs

Health Industry Hub | November 20, 2019 |

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the rise of superbugs one of the major threats to world health. Superbugs are antibiotic resistant bacteria that have emerged as the result of the over-prescription of antibiotics.

So serious is the problem of over-prescription of antibiotics that the WHO recently established World Antibiotic Awareness Week (which will run from 19-24 November) to alert people to the danger.

In the fight against superbugs is a new point-of-care diagnostic test, FebriDx, that allows doctors to distinguish between a viral and bacterial infection in 10 minutes, and thus avoid prescribing antibiotics to people who don’t need them. FebriDx has a 97-99% NPV (negative predictive value) to assist in ruling out a bacterial infection.

Approved by the TGA in 2019, and already approved in Canada and Europe, the FebriDx test started extensive FDA clinical trials in the US in October.

‘We know about half of all antibiotics given to patients are not needed but are prescribed just in case someone presenting has a bacterial infection,’ said Sacha Dopheide, Chief Technology Officer at Lumos Diagnostics.

A growing number of conditions such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and gonorrhoea are becoming harder to treat, according to the WHO, which suggests antibiotic resistance is leading to longer hospital stays, higher health costs, and increased mortality.

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