Global award for UK company’s simple MRSA test

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GFC Diagnostics has been awarded one of the three Longitude Prize Discovery Awards for its ground-breaking development of a test which successfully detects antibiotic resistant bacteria, including the superbug MRSA, within half an hour.

Named MicroScreen, the cheap, quick and simple test detects the genes inside the antibiotic resistant bacteria. It can be used on pre-operative patients in hospital to establish if they carry antiobitic restistant bacteria, including MRSA, which then avoids the uneccesssary prescription and use of antiobiotics. The test ensures that patients receive appropriate treatment for their own recovery and the wellbeing of other patients. It represents a major breakthrough in the battle against drug resistant infection, regarded as a potentially devastating threat to global public health.

Current tests are complex, expensive, and take around three days for the results to be made available.

The Longitude Prize Discovery Awards were announced at The Royal Society in London and mark the second anniversary of the Longitude Prize – a global challenge to tackle the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by reducing overuse of antibiotics.

The technology can also be used to detect other bacteria including deadly strains of drug resistant tuberculosis and CPE (carbapenem aseproducing enterobacteriaceae), which is currently resistant to nearly all known antibiotics, is often fatal and is spreading fast globally.

Bruce Savage, CEO of GFC Diagnostics, said: “This test could be a major step forward to reduce the harm caused by drug resistant bacteria. Drug resistant infections are on the rise with up to 50,000 lives lost each year to antibiotic-resistant infections in Europe and the US alone. This rapid test will give a quick diagnosis and prevent the unnecessary use of broad spectrum antibiotics.”

MicroScreen could also potentially save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping to stop the spread of deadly infections such as MRSA throughout a hospital.

GFC Diagnostics will receive a grant to be used in developing ideas and overcoming the technical challenges of making a submission for the main Longitude Prize challenge which offers £10 million for the development of a novel, affordable and rapid point-of-care test that could be used anywhere in the world to determine when antibiotics should be used.