Revolutionary technology is changing how scientists are monitoring and fighting antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest threats to both human health and the systems in place to safeguard it. AMR is being amplified by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, resulting in an increasing number of infections that are more challenging — and sometimes impossible — to treat effectively. This increases healthcare costs (due to longer hospital stays and recovery times) and negative outcomes — an article published in The Lancet estimates that nearly 5 million deaths are associated with bacterial AMR each year.
Combating this problem requires robust cooperation from all aspects of the healthcare landscape — monitoring antimicrobial resistance around the world helps to define the scope of the problem and identify ways to fight back.
Partnerships like the one between Takara Bio, a leading biotechnology company specializing in the development of life science reagents and instruments, and Resistomap, a laboratory and analysis services company, are key to winning this battle against unnecessary infections and mortality.
Windi Muziasari, Ph.D., founded Resistomap after her doctoral and post-doctoral work studying antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) alerted her to the danger AMR represents. Resistomap’s customers use the company’s services to study the impact of antibiotics on livestock, as well as the spread of ARGs in the environment. One of the most important tools Resistomap relies on in this fight against AMR is Takara Bio’s SmartChip Real-Time PCR System.
Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is widely used in laboratory settings to rapidly produce and analyze genetic segments using short synthetic fragments of DNA to produce millions or even billions of copies of a DNA segment for study. But qPCR has traditionally been limited in terms of throughput.
The SmartChip Real-Time PCR System utilizes 5,184 simultaneous reactions on a single chip — allowing much higher throughput. This means researchers can run high-volume PCR experiments simply and effectively, while also cutting costs because the process requires lower volumes of reagents.
While the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System is designed for research use, not by providers working with patients, its impact is significant.
“It is critical that we support researchers in the fight against AMR with the large-scale, flexible capabilities of the SmartChip system,” said Liz Quinn, VP of Marketing at Takara Bio USA, Inc. “High-throughput qPCR is a powerful tool for data analysis related to a wide range of human health issues, including pathogen detection, clinical biomarkers, and antibiotic resistance. We are dedicated to enabling advancements in these areas of global concern.”
Speed, flexibility, and cost
The SmartChip Real-Time PCR System benefits researchers in three key ways: speed, flexibility, and cost.
Because each chip in the SmartChip system supports 14 different sample and assay configurations, Resistomap has been able to study up to 384 genes at once and deliver data on ARGs within two weeks, vastly speeding up the collection and analysis of data that can help in the fight against ARGs and antimicrobial resistance worldwide.
This technology offers researchers incredible flexibility, and Resistomap uses this advantage to offer their customers the option to get data on any ARG they choose. That flexibility means the company can be involved in a wide range of AMR-related research, from tracking how antibiotics usage impacts dairy farms to working with wastewater management entities to determine whether AMR surveillance would be beneficial.
Muziasari also notes that the SmartChip Real-Time PCR System helps make AMR research less expensive, because its cost per sample is lower than other tools. This is related to the system’s sensitivity, which allows researchers to conduct analyses using much smaller volumes of material — both in terms of DNA samples used as input into the system and the reaction material, which can be as small as 100 nanoliters (nl).
Using fewer resources while producing accurate and precise data is crucial to keeping research costs low, which in turn allows for more work to be done in the fight against AMR. As fewer drug-resistant infections occur, this in turn will reduce overall healthcare costs.
For more information about the global fight against AMR and how Takara Bio’s real-time PCR technology is helping, visit takarabio.com/smartchip-amr.