Seattle biotech startup ID Genomics has been awarded a $3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a genetic “barcoding” test and global database to help doctors prescribe the correct antibiotic before patients leave the clinic.
The rapid (30-minute) genetic “barcoding” test uniquely identifies bacterial strains that are stored in a proprietary database and linked to particular antibiotic resistance profiles. This database can then be used by doctors to quickly identify bacteria in clinical specimens in order to prescribe the correct antibiotic within minutes of seeing the patient.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.S. alone, several million people are seen in the doctor’s office or admitted to emergency rooms or hospitals with suspected bacterial infections every year. These patients are prescribed on the spot with antibiotics largely based upon a doctor’s “best guess.” Unsurprisingly, antibiotic treatment fails in 15% to 30% of patients, who must return for a new, and hopefully correct, antibiotic.
In addition to worsening antibiotic resistance, this inadequate process can result in more severe infections and hospitalizations, driving up mortality and healthcare costs. ID Genomics hopes to address this problem with the new rapid (30-minute) genetic “barcoding” test.
“Within the same bacterial species are individual ‘crime families,’ each of which has its own antibiotic resistance profile,” said Dr. Evgeni Sokurenko, who is the founder of ID Genomics and professor of microbiology at the University of Washington. “When doctors see a certain ‘criminal’ in the clinic, our technology will help them identify the associated antibiotic rap sheet and so choose the best treatment option.”