The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance—and How Syndromic Testing Can Help

Antibiotic resistance poses a significant threat to global public health—and this threat is only growing. We’re here to explain what it is, why it matters, and the important role syndromic infectious disease diagnostics plays to help combat antibiotic resistance.

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria no longer respond to the drugs designed to target them. These drugs, called antibiotics, are typically prescribed to battle infections such as strep throat.  When resistance develops, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with how the human body responds to infection or medication. Rather, it’s the bacteria themselves that undergo changes that lead to developing resistance mechanisms—or acquiring them from others—to ensure their survival.

The more frequently bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the more opportunities they have to develop or acquire resistance to them.

Over time, this process can make antibiotics less effective in fighting infections. It can even lead to the emergence of dangerous superbugs that are resistant to many different types of antibiotics and make infections hard to treat, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Why is Antimicrobial Stewardship So Important?

Antimicrobial stewardship refers to the systemic effort to combat antibiotic resistance by optimizing the use of antimicrobial medications. Antibiotics are vital and lifesaving, but it is their use—especially overuse and misuse—that contributes most to antibiotic resistance.1

Antimicrobial stewardship programs aim to reduce the number of unnecessary and inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions to improve patient outcomes and curb antibiotic resistance.

How Can Syndromic Testing Help?

Syndromic infectious disease testing from BioFire is fast, easy, and comprehensive—and it can facilitate better antimicrobial stewardship.2

By delivering actionable results on a wide array of pathogens and antibiotic resistance markers, the BioFire® FilmArray® System can help healthcare providers reduce the time to targeted therapy and avoid unnecessary antibiotics.3

What Can I Do About Antibiotic Resistance?

The best thing to do about antibiotic resistance is to get informed:

  • bioMérieux’s antibiotic resistance website is a great place to start—learn about global stewardship efforts and innovations in infectious disease diagnostics.
  • Be Antibiotics Aware is a national CDC campaign that aims to educate everyone, from physician to patient, about the importance of antimicrobial stewardship.
  • This in-depth article discusses the fascinating history and science behind antibiotics and antibiotic resistance.
  • Syndromic testing from BioFire can help facilitate antimicrobial stewardship program goals—request a free demo.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report-2013/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf
  2. Southern TR, VanSchooneveld TC, Bannister DL, Brown TL, Crismon AS, Buss SN, Iwen PC, Fey PD. Implementation and performance of the BioFire FilmArray® Blood Culture Identification Panel with antimicrobial antimicrobial treatment recommendations for bloodstream infections at a Midwestern academic tertiary hospital. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis
    2015;81(2):96–101.
  3. MacVane SH, Nolte FS. Benefits of Adding a Rapid PCR-Based Blood Culture Identification Panel to an Established Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. J Clin Microbiol 2016; 54:2476-2484.