AMR

As Europe enters the fourth wave of COVID-19 and countries start to impose lockdown restrictions, we must not forget that we have the tools to tackle this. European society has undergone a profound transformation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing has been placed at the heart of our health systems as one of the key solutions in tackling this crisis. Following the pandemic’s impact on our economy and wellbeing, health awareness has increased. We are able to quickly recognise COVID-19 symptoms and we know to get tested when needed. In fact, many of us test before visiting family; we test when going to a business meeting and for travelling. We now have a stronger appreciation of the impact that delayed diagnosis can have on our overall health. As we reflect on European Testing Week (22-29 November), it is clear to me that our efforts to raise awareness must go beyond the detection of chronic diseases and viral infections such as HCV, HBV and HIV. Testing is no longer just a part of health screening and prevention programmes. Testing supports the economy, saves lives and protects the most vulnerable in society. Testing can be accurate and fast The EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic put the spotlight on the importance of rapid diagnosis to prevent the spread of disease and enable patient monitoring. Many patients across Europe were offered testing in their community and in non-healthcare settings which enabled them to overcome barriers to accessing rapid testing. Patients can now have a rapid PCR test in near-patient settings (e.g., pharmacy, clinics, mobile units and airports) with the results within a one hour. [i] The time needed for the test results to come back does not compromise its sensitivity and accuracy when compared with results from traditional labs (which take...
The recent pandemic has bluntly exposed some of the gaps in our healthcare systems across Europe and one thing stuck with me the most: we were not prepared. In many ways, we can think of this as a test run of how the world responds to large-scale healthcare crises. There are more complex threats ahead, one of them being antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The topic has gained a lot of attention and awareness over the past years, but I continue to ask myself: are we on the right track to manage this public healthcare crisis in all its different aspects? Are we doing enough to slow it down? Are we ready to handle it? AMR has global impact not only burdening healthcare systems (estimated 10 million deaths by 2050), but also the economy (1.5 billion EUR yearly) [1]. We are in very diverse states of dealing with it, i.e. in most European countries, access to antimicrobial drugs is highly regulated, whereas the situation in Africa or India is very different. Medications in some of these places are available over the counter with no prescription, keeping resistance on the rise. And as we have learned the hard way, microbes do not care about borders. AMR awareness AMR is a continuously increasing problem and therefore rightly stressed by many of the high-level organisations such as the United Nations [2], the WHO [3] and the European Union [4] with dedicated AMR calls to action or action plans. One objective they all have in common is the urge of increasing awareness and understanding of AMR and its consequences. In my perspective, this is the most crucial thing based on the recently published AMR preparedness index [5] and personal experiences. As professionals in the medical technology industry, we are exposed to these topics eventually, but the...
As we mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day , it is vital that we do all we can to address antimicrobial resistance. The medtech sector supports a wide range of tools that reduce infection risk and support antimicrobial stewardship – some are technologically sophisticated; others are startlingly simple. Checklists are just one way that we can make surgery safer, reduce healthcare-associated infections, and support antibiotic stewardship. In 2006, Peter Pronovost, a critical care specialist at Johns Hopkins University, designed a checklist to tackle central line infections in intensive care units (ICU). On a sheet of plain paper, he plotted out the steps to take in order to avoid infections when putting in a central line. Doctors are supposed to: wash their hands with soap; clean the patient's skin with chlorhexidine antiseptic; place sterilised drapes over the entire patient; wear a mask, hat, sterile gown and gloves; and put a sterile dressing over the site once the line is in. These steps are no brainers; they have been known and taught for years. So, it seemed silly to make checklist for something so obvious. Pronovost asked the nurses on his ICU to observe the doctors for a month as they put lines into patients and record how often they carried out each step. In more than one third of patients, doctors skipped at least one step. He and his team later persuaded the Johns Hopkins Hospital administration to authorise nurses to stop doctors if they saw them skipping a step on the checklist. A year afterwards, Pronovost and his colleagues monitored what happened. The results were so dramatic that they weren't sure whether to believe them: the ten-day line infection rate went from 11% to zero. So, they monitored patients for 15 more months. Only two line...