symcel_calscreenerSymcel comments on the pressing need to develop novel antibiotic drugs, as well as better tools for diagnostics and stewardship in this field.

The traditional detection principles have been refined, and novel molecular-based assays have emerged, but the standard assays are still based on the traditional “Pasteur-era” of growing bacteria and counting the colonies.

The molecular-based technologies such as mass spectrometry and DNA sequencing are very successful in the arena of typing and identifying bacterial species, but the real goal is to find detection techniques that can rapidly and un-biasedly determine the actual response to antibiotic treatment.

To finally enter a new era of antibiotics development, an unbiased phenotype assay is required that can be used both for the development of new antibiotics and for determining the resistance patterns in clinical isolates.

One of the real phenotype assays available for determining antibiotic resistance is the use of microcalorimetry. Microcalorimetry is a label–free assay that monitors the metabolic heat output from living cells in real-time with a superior sensitivity to the traditional optical-based detection.

The calorimetric assay can be deployed for all types of micro-organisms, from bacteria, both aerobes and anaerobes, as well as fungal pathogens. As the detection principle is based on the metabolic output of cells, there is no need to have prior knowledge of the resistance mechanism involved — in contrast to molecular-based assays any genetic variation or naturally emerging resistance will be detected.

The calorimetric assay is also fully capable of determining the co-operative effects of combination treatments in the case of multiple antibiotic resistance.

Magnus Jansson, CSO, Symcel, commented: “We predict that the recent developments in calorimetric equipment – enabling small volume samples and multichannel equipment adapted to microbiological laboratory settings to be had, will lead the way to new tools in the fight against antibiotic resistance, both in the development of totally novel drug-classes and as a tool for in vitro diagnostics and resistance stewardship.”