Battling Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance with OpGen's Dr. Oliver Schacht
Dr. Oliver Schacht says that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious pandemic that needs as much attention as COVID-19. In fact, 700,000 people now die annually across the globe from AMR infections.
In this podcast, he addresses
- Why antibiotic resistance is a problem that merits a global response,
- How slower old-school testing of bacterial infections works as one of the causes of antibiotic resistance by necessitating broad spectrum antibiotics, and
- What are technologies that OpGen and other companies are developing to improve testing from rapid PCR testing to faster next generation sequencing.
Oliver Schacht, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer for both OpGen and Curetis and is an expert in the molecular diagnostics industry. He addresses causes of antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic resistance mechanisms, but spends the majority of the podcast explaining why it is a world-wide issue and what solutions are available now and in the near future.
At the center of these solutions lies the need to identify the species of antibiotic resistant bacteria and its resistance factor quickly. This means better, faster testing to insure more accurate treatment and less over prescription of broad spectrum antibiotics.
He adds that using broad spectrum antibiotics aggressively to fight undiagnosed infections leads to effective and rapid evolution of bacteria towards resistant adaptations. He says that if we keep using these broad spectrum antibiotics, some projections predict that by the year 2050 we may have 10 million deaths a year from these infections globally.
He details the history of testing and explains why the technology has lagged. In a nutshell, we're still doing what we have been doing for 150 years, which requires significant time for cultures to grow and test.
He then explains how OpGen and other companies are developing rapid PCR tests as well as faster and better next generation sequence testing. He predicts the cost and timing for these will continue to decline and that will only improve the quality and helpfulness of the testing.
Finally, he carries a global theme throw this discussion, explaining that this issue is analogous to climate change alleviation: there's not a simple fix and the issue can't just be handled locally—this requires a global approach to be effective. Listen in for more details and discussion about these issues.