Evaluating technologies that hope to guide antibiotic use
The NIHR Newcastle MIC are part of a national partnership awarded over £200,000 to design a platform for assessing tests that aim to steer antibiotic treatment.
Every hour five people in the UK die of sepsis. This life-threatening condition occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive to combat a severe infection caused by bacteria. The key to recovery from sepsis is quick treatment with the most appropriate antibiotic. However, current laboratory tests that tell clinicians which antibiotic to use take 1-2 days to give results. Symptoms can be monitored at the bedside, but they are like the symptoms associated with viral and fungal infections, which cannot be successfully treated with antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics also makes “resistant” bacteria more common. Resistance is where the bacteria are no longer affected by one or more of the available antibiotics.
New technologies may help healthcare workers to distinguish infections and make decisions about whether to start, stop or switch treatments. However, firstly these technologies need to be evaluated to see which one might be best. Ideally a platform study would be used. This type of study can evaluate multiple technologies at the same time, so the most promising test can be rapidly identified and adopted into use.
We are part of a national collaboration awarded £ 204,996 from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme to design a platform study to assess these new technologies. The study, named PROTECT, is led by Prof Enitan Carrol (University of Liverpool) and Dr Philip Pallmann (Cardiff University).
The multidisciplinary team of researchers spans several other organisations including Kings College London, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, Newcastle University and North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Three public contributors are also part of the project team.
This 12-month acceleration award is helping the PROTECT team prepare a further funding application to deliver the platform study. Current work aims to identify which technologies should be tested and where and when they could be best used in the patient care pathway. The PROTECT team will gather the views of patients, carers, and healthcare professionals on the technologies and how their impact should be measured.
Our senior methodologist Dr Clare Lendrem and methodologists Dr Nicola Howe, Dr Raasti Naseem, Dr Sara Pretorius and Dr Cameron Williams are leading the NIHR Newcastle MIC’s involvement in the project. This includes mapping the current care pathway for patients with a suspected serious bacterial infection. This will pinpoint how a new diagnostic could help to identify these patients before they become seriously ill. By finding the clinical scenarios where the new diagnostics could have the most impact, this research will inform the design of the platform study.
Read more about the PROTECT study.