Medical scientists at the University of St Andrews have won a prestigious award for a breakthrough that could help the fight against antibiotic resistance.
The Orbital Diagnostics team at St Andrews won the Innovation Award at Scotland’s Life Sciences Awards for the development of a device – the Scattered Light Integrated Collector (SLIC) – which reduces the time taken to test bacteria for resistance.
Current testing frequently takes 24 hours to produce a result, but the SLIC team can produce a similar result in around 20 minutes.
The new tool aims to help patients get the right treatment faster. This reduces risk of antibiotic resistance by helping ensure bacteria are not exposed to antibiotics unnecessarily.
The UN has identified antibiotic resistant bacteria as a major threat to global health – with an estimated $50 trillion price tag for health care if nothing is done about it.
Team leader Professor Stephen Gillespie, Sir James Black Professor of Medicine at St Andrews, said: “We are delighted to have won the Innovation Category at the Life Sciences awards.
“Our new technology SLIC will be an important method to help patients and to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.”
Top: SLIC cuts bacterial resistance test period from days to minutes
Bottom: Giles Hamilton, Commercial Champion for SLIC and CEO of Orbital Diagnostics
Professor Stephen Gillespie leads the infection group at the University of St Andrews. A practising clinical microbiologist, he is one of the Chief Investigators of the PanACEA consortium, focusing on various aspects of tuberculosis drug development. His infection group studies molecular mechanisms of resistance and model systems to measure the fitness deficits found in resistant strains and investigates respiratory pathogens.
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