By the bioMérieux Connection Editors
The University of Antwerp has announced the creation of an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) called VALUE-Dx, in partnership with bioMérieux and Wellcome Trust. According to the University of Antwerp, “The purpose of VALUE-Dx is to transform medical practice to achieve more personalized, evidence-based antibiotic prescription and use in community care settings through the widespread use of clinical and cost-effective innovative diagnostic strategies.”
VALUE-Dx is a European-wide approach to generate evidence on the medical, economic, and public health value of diagnostics in tackling antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It will focus on acute respiratory tract infections acquired in community care settings as they are the most frequent cause of medical consultation and inappropriate antibiotic use. The outcomes of VALUE-Dx could apply to other common infections such as urinary tract infections, blood stream infections, and hospital-acquired respiratory tract infections.
According to Dr. Pierre Meulien, Executive Director, Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), “Diagnostics are an essential element in the fight against AMR. I am delighted that IMI is supporting a project that, for the first time, has been conceived by representatives of the diagnostics sector and includes world renowned experts from a wide range of academic disciplines. Only by pooling expertise and working together in this way can we hope to address major challenges like AMR.”
Founded in 2008 as a public-private partnership between the European Commission (EC) and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the IMI is a coordinated effort to improve the medical innovation competition in EU nations and to remove barriers in order to bring more innovative drugs, diagnostics, and devices to the marketplace, particularly those that address critical unmet medical needs, such as antibiotic resistance.
“Diagnostic tests provide actionable information that are instrumental to enable reasonable use of antimicrobials,” explains Mark Miller, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at bioMérieux. “The diagnostic industry has a key role to play in the battle against AMR, and together we will be stronger to fight this global public health threat. We are convinced that the VALUE-Dx project will be a game changer to show the true medical and economic value of diagnostics to support antibiotic stewardship and preserve the efficacy of these medications for improving patient care today and for future generations.”
Innovative diagnostics are helping to preserve our antibiotics for future generations. The most effective and proven way to curtail antibiotic resistance is to reduce the overuse and misuse of these vital, life-saving drugs. In addition to the prophylactic use of antibiotics in farm animals, one of the most common reason these drugs are misused in human beings is imprecise or delayed diagnosis. When a physician is treating a vulnerable patient, she cannot wait 24 hours, much less several days, to get a precise diagnosis of the pathogen that is making her patient so sick. So, she often has no choice but to prescribe antibiotics in the event that the patient has a serious bacterial infection, which can turn septic very quickly in certain patients, particularly the elderly and very young, as well as those with co-morbidities, such as cancer.
The unnecessary use of antibiotics is a primary driver of antibiotic resistance. A good example of this is patients who are hospitalized with acute bronchitis. According to Ross H. Albert, MD, PhD, determining the precise causative pathogen behind acute bronchitis is difficult and time consuming, but numerous studies have revealed that approximately 90% of all acute bronchitis infections are caused by viruses. Nonetheless, most of these patients are treated with antibiotics, because in the absence of a rapid and precise diagnostic test, doctors have little choice.
VALUE-Dx includes six industry partners as well 20 non-industry partners to combat antimicrobial resistance and improve patient outcomes. To read more about this ambitious initiative, visit the Centers for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.