Rapid testing for antibiotic resistance

17 November 2020

Two researchers looking at a little piece of glass

The project involves six different research groups with various competences, from Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

In cases of severe infection, identifying the correct antibiotic – and doing so quickly – can be a matter of life and death. At Uppsala University a very fast test for antibiotic resistance is being developed. The goal is to reduce the time from taking a sample to getting a result from one day to under four hours.

“Our entire test is based on examining individual bacteria under the microscope; so, we build microflow channels in which we can capture bacteria and then grow it under the microscope to see how they respond to a given antibiotic. Then we have various chemical tests that show which bacteria are present in the sample”, says Johan Elf, Professor at Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.

This is a major five-year project involving six different research groups with various competences, from Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology. The project manager is Dan Andersson, Professor at Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology and director at Uppsala Antibiotic Center.

“The main focus is on blood infections, because these are very severe infections. There are studies showing that for every hour that a blood infection goes untreated, or is treated with the wrong antibiotics, the risk of death increases by around 4%” , says Dan Andersson.

Facts – Antibiotic resistance

Uppsala University has broad national and international transdisciplinary expertise in the area of antibiotic resistance. In addition to strong pure research in pharmaceuticals, microbiology and antibiotic resistance, the University also conducts internationally prominent research in areas such as diagnostics, new economic models, law, clinical research, ethics, global health, sustainable development, behaviour and learning.