Ensuring Innovation in Diagnostics for Bacterial Infection
Implications for Policy
The inappropriate use of antibiotics is a primary cause of the ongoing increase in drug resistance among pathogenic bacteria. The resulting decrease in the efficacy of antibiotics threatens our ability to combat infectious diseases. Rapid, point-of-care tests to identify pathogens and better target the appropriate treatment could greatly improve the use of antibiotics. Yet there are few such tests currently available or being developed despite the rapid pace of medical innovation. Clearly something is inhibiting the much-needed development of new and more convenient diagnostic tools. This study delineates priorities for developing diagnostics to improve antibiotic prescription and use with the goal of managing and curbing the expansion of drug resistance. It calls for new approaches, particularly in the provision of diagnostic devices, and, in doing so, outlines some of the inadequacies in health, science and policy initiatives that have led to the dearth of such devices. The authors make the case that there is a clear and urgent need for innovation, not only in the technology of diagnosis, but also in public policy and medical practice to support the availability and use of better diagnostic tools.
This book explores the complexities of the diagnostics market from the perspective of both supply and demand, unearthing interesting bottlenecks, some obvious, some more subtle. It calls for a multifaceted and broad policy response, and an overhaul of current practice, so that the growth of bacterial resistance can be stemmed.