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BioMérieux, Pfizer, Malawi Ministry of Health Collaborate on Antimicrobial Resistance Effort

NEW YORK – BioMérieux announced on Thursday that it has formed a collaboration with Pfizer and the Malawi Ministry of Health to address antimicrobial resistance in the African nation.

The collaboration will further the Malawi Ministry of Health's efforts to prevent antimicrobial resistance by building capacity for infection prevention and control, diagnostics, surveillance, and treatment at four centralized hospitals, BioMérieux said in a statement.

Specifically, at Kamuzu, Mzuzu, Queen Elizabeth, and Zomba central hospitals, BioMérieux will support the development of facility-specific antibiograms by equipping labs with a suite of new diagnostic and surveillance tools. These tools will include digital solutions to enhance diagnostic capabilities and develop robust information technology infrastructure.

Michel Bonnier, BioMérieux senior director of global health, said the diagnostic and surveillance solutions "not only improve testing and data sharing but also facilitate informed care decisions."

Pfizer, meanwhile, has provided a grant to the University of North Carolina's Project-Malawi to aid in technical assistance and training for the Ministry of Health and the four central hospitals.

The aim of the program is to build stewardship committees in each hospital, strengthen the connection between physicians and labs, build microbiology and surveillance capacity, and improve pharmacy prescribing patterns, BioMérieux said.

Antimicrobial-resistant infections contributed to the deaths of an estimated 19,000 Malawians in 2019, according to the Measuring Infectious Causes and Resistance Outcomes for Burden Estimation (MICROBE) tracker. Approximately 60,000 people in Malawi died from sepsis that year, and the estimated average drug resistance rate there is 76 percent. Most antibiotic prescribing in Malawi is currently done without a diagnostic result due in part to limitations in lab capacity.