February 05, 2019
2 min read

New platform delivers same-day AST data for ‘virtually all’ antibiotics

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Eric Stern, PhD
Eric Stern

A new platform for antibiotic susceptibility testing, or AST, “has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice” by rapidly providing data on many more antibiotics than current methods allow, researchers reported in Scientific Reports.

The platform, developed by Selux Diagnostics, can deliver same-day data on “virtually all” available antibiotics, explained Eric Stern, PhD, the company’s chief technology officer and co-founder.

“AST has been a standard of practice for decades in clinical microbiology laboratories but still requires the same 2 to 4 days in most laboratories as it did in the 1980s. This lies in stark contrast to bacterial identification (ID), which is now routinely available within a day of a sample arriving at the laboratory. This has opened a 1- to 3-day ‘ID-to-AST gap’ that the SeLux technology holds the promise to fill,” Stern told Infectious Disease News.

“Additionally, the antibiotic menus of conventional AST platforms are limited. Tests can only be provided for 12 to 15 antibiotics at a time, which is insufficient to meet the demands of today’s resistant organisms. Limited test menus are particularly insidious because the patients infected with [multidrug-resistant organisms], the most difficult-to-treat organisms, end up receiving the least effective care.”

Current manual and automated AST diagnostic technologies have not changed since they were invented in the 1990s, Stern said. The traditional process, he explained, begins when a patient arrives at the hospital and a blood sample is drawn and sent to culture, where it sits for 16 hours. If bacteria grow, a subculture is performed to purify the bacteria prior to AST, which takes 24 more hours. AST results can be delivered for the first group of 12 to 15 antibiotics, after which, another group may need to be tested, which can take days due to manual methods and shipping needs.

SeLux’s new platform, Stern said, provides rapid, comprehensive AST results within a day of sample collection, and can run up to 60 antibiotics in a single test, allowing for targeted therapies to be prescribed to infected patients up to 3 days faster than the current industry standard.

According to the study published in Scientific Reports, after a 4-hour incubation in cation-adjusted Mueller-Hinton broth and antibiotic, the assay measures bacterial concentrations by binding a universal small molecule amplifier to bacteria surfaces, allowing the system to account for bacterial morphological changes in response to antibiotics and enabling larger groups of antibiotics to be run for each sample, the researchers explained.

“The platform has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice by providing highly accurate AST data for virtually all available antibiotics in a single rapid test,” Stern said.” “What’s more, the compatibility of this endpoint assay with 384-well microplates will provide ample space for incorporation of new antibiotics, which should transform the speed with which newly approved antibiotics enter the clinic and may even speed antibiotic development.”– by Caitlyn Stulpin

Disclosures: Stern is an employee and shareholder of Selux. All study authors are employees or scientific advisors of Selux.