MSF’s Antibiogo application to combat antibiotic resistance certified in Europe | Doctors Without Borders

NEW YORK/PARIS, JUNE 15, 2022—A new mobile application called Antibiogo, developed and tested by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to help facilitate the diagnosis of antibiotic resistance, has recently been certified in Europe. This European Conformity (CE) mark signifies that the app is about to be freely available to healthcare professionals worldwide, providing an innovative new diagnostic option to tackle a major health concern. public.

This app allows non-expert lab technicians to measure and interpret antibiograms, tests used to determine whether bacteria will respond to particular antibiotics. Antibiogram tests are essential because they help doctors prescribe the most effective antibiotics. They are usually interpreted by highly qualified microbiologists. However, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that do not have the equipment to perform antibiograms or enough clinical microbiologists to interpret them, identifying antibiotic resistance is much more complicated, even impossible, creating more opportunities for individuals. and community resistance to form.

“Thanks to Antibiogo, any microbiology laboratory technician, wherever they are, will be able to read and interpret an antibiogram directly on their phone, online or offline, and know the resistance profile of the bacteria responsible for infection of a patient,” said Dr Nada Malou, head of the Antibiogo program. “Used well, it is a fantastic new diagnostic tool that will help ensure wider access to high quality bacteriological testing even in the absence of microbiologists. This will not only allow patients to be treated with the most appropriate antibiotics, but also reduce antibiotic resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance, is recognized by the World Health Organization as a major threat to public health and caused 1.27 million deaths in 2019. It could become the leading cause of death with 10 million deaths per year worldwide from 2050 if nothing is done. to curb resistance. MSF has been involved for several years in the fight against antibiotic resistance, particularly in countries in conflict where MSF treats war wounded infected with multi-resistant bacteria.

The vast majority of antibiotic resistance diagnostic tests that exist are developed in high-income countries for profit. The tests made available and affordable to people in LMICs are often not well suited to these contexts. For example, many low-resource environments are not suitable for in-store testing due to issues such as high temperatures, humidity, and unreliable power sources, as well as a lack of trained specialists.

“Antibiogo is innovative in that it was created based on the need identified in countries with limited resources, was developed with users in these countries and with their data, and has been tested in the populations that will benefit from it” , Dr. Malou said. “The development model for this medical device is the opposite of what is usually observed and meets the real needs observed in PRITIs.

Antibiogo uses image processing, artificial intelligence technology and an existing expert system that includes thousands of interpretation rules from European or American societies for microbiology used to read and interpret antibiograms. The results of clinical trials which have been organized in Mali, Jordan and Senegal by the Pasteur Institute show a very high level of consistency, ranging from 90 to 98% depending on the bacteria compared to the interpretations of qualified microbiologists.

The Antibiogo mobile application was specifically developed by the MSF Foundation – an MSF entity that initiates, funds and manages technological and innovation projects to improve patient care – and will first be used in MSF laboratories in Mali, in the Central African Republic, Jordan and Jordan. Yemen this summer. This will allow MSF to collect user feedback and performance data under real-world conditions, which is necessary for the next stage of CE certification. This next level of certification will allow the application to be deployed more widely and used by healthcare professionals in all PRITIs. Many countries, especially countries with limited resources, do not allow tests to be used if they are not CE certified.

Mary I. Bruner