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NIAID Provides $11M for Development of Dx for Antimicrobial-Resistant Bacteria

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced on Thursday it has awarded more than $11 million in first-year funding to nine research projects to develop diagnostics for the rapid detection of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. 

The recipients of the funding will develop tools to identify certain pathogens often implicated in infections in healthcare settings. In particular, the NIAD is interested in technologies that target antimicrobial-resistant pathogens including Klebsiella pneumonia; Acinetobacter baumannii; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Enterobacter species; and Escherichia coli

While current methods for diagnosing some bacterial infections can take up to three days and require patient samples to be sent to laboratories for culturing, the technologies being developed with the funding must provide results in no more than three hours and be culture-independent, NIAID said. 

Each year, more than 2 million people in the US develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 people die as a result, it said, citing statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"One way we can combat resistance is by developing enhanced diagnostic tests that rapidly identify the bacteria causing an infection and their susceptibility to various antimicrobials," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in a statement. Such tools would allow clinicians to prescribe the most appropriate treatments for each individual and reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that can contribute to the drug resistance dilemma, he added. 

The winners of the awards include BioFire Diagnostics for a project named "FilmArray Direct: Rapid Diagnosis of Antimicrobial-resistant Pathogens from Blood;" Brigham Young University for "Multiplexed, Non-amplified, Nucleic Acid-based Identification of Multidrug-resistant Pathogens Using an Integrated Optofluidic Platform;" Denver Health and Hospital Authority for "Ultrarapid Culture-independent Detection of High-Priority Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae Directly from Blood;" and First Light Biosciences for "Rapid Detection of Pathogens and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Directly in Patient Samples." 

Also receiving funding are GeneFluidics for a project called "A Fully Integrated CentriFluidic System for Direct Bloodstream Infection PID/AST;" Johns Hopkins University for "A Droplet-based Single Cell Platform for Pathogen Identification and AST;" the Broad Institute for "RNA-based Diagnostics for Rapid Pathogen Identification and Drug Resistance;" the University of California, Berkeley for "Consortium for Drug-resistant Gran-negative Pathogen Detection;" and UC Irvine for "Integrated Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection (IC 3D) System for Rapid Detection of Bacteria and Antimicrobial Resistance."