Bei Infektionserkrankungen kann eine Prognose für die Wirksamkeit einer Therapie über Leben und Tod entscheiden. Hahn-Schickard Forscher Dr. Konstantinos Mitsakakis beleuchtet als Mitglied gemeinsam mit einem internationalen Konsortium den Stand der Technik und gibt Handlungsempfehlungen im renommierten Journal „Nature Reviews Microbiology“.
In unserem neuen Format Hahn-Schickard: Inside stellen wir regelmäßig Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler vor, die herausragende Arbeit bei Hahn-Schickard leisten. Zum heutigen Gespräch haben wir Konstantinos Mitsakakis eingeladen. Der aus Griechenland stammende Wissenschaftler arbeitet seit 7 Jahren bei Hahn-Schickard als Gruppenleiter "Business Development". Wir sprechen mit ihm über seine Arbeit, bei Hahn-Schickard, die Ziele des Konsortiums und das kürzlich erschienene Review. Konstantinos Mitsakakis ist Teil eines internationalen Teams. Das Interview führen wir deswegen auf Englisch.
Hahn-Schickard: Kostas, you are group leader of International Business Development at Hahn-Schickard in Freiburg. Your main research issue is the testing of multiresistant pathogens via lab-on-a-disk assays. What is the challenge and what are the aims of your research on multiresistant bacteria?
Mitsakakis: If you go to a general practitioner and you are diagnosed only by your symptoms, you do not know if the cause of your disease is virus or bacterium. Still, the practitioners frequently prescribe antibiotics even if they don’t know the real cause, for the common reason: "just in case". But the problem is that this "blind" prescription will be useless in the case of viral infections.
A consequence of such unjustified use of antibiotics is the increase of resistance of bacteria. In other words: antibiotics become gradually inefficient.
To this direction, we at Hahn-Schickard develop point-of-care solutions for rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. We are able to distinguish if the cause of an infection is a bacterium or virus, but also to identify which exactly bacterium or virus it is. This is extremely important feedback to the clinician to make an informed diagnostic decision and provide the best treatment to the patient.
Hahn-Schickard: You are member of the consortium “Joint Programme Initiative for AMR”. AMR stands for Antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics. What are the aims of the consortium?
Mitsakakis: This was a network consortium that consisted of more than 20 partners from academia, diagnostic innovators, industry, clinics, NGOs, Doctors without Borders and the World Health Organization.
The consortium aimed to define target specifications for developers of AMR diagnostics and to propose measures for a behavioral change of stakeholders who are involved in AMR.
It is also of interest to mention that the network was recently granted a follow-up project, that will enable the expansion of its activities to the geographic area of tropical regions (low and middle income countries); and also in the field of veterinary diagnosis and antibiotics for animals, an area that is seemingly irrelevant, but in reality is very close to the common diseases between humans and animals (the so-called zoonoses).
Hahn-Schickard: Recently the consortium published a review-paper in Nature Reviews Microbiology – a journal with high reputation. Congratulations! What are the main statements of the paper?
Mitsakakis: Thank you very much! Indeed that was a big collaborative effort. The paper aims to raise awareness of the technical but mostly the non-technical obstacles that may prevent tools for AMR to be implemented in real life and to propose ways to overcome these obstacles. For example, there are fundamental differences among countries in health system structures; there´s a lack or inefficient standardization; or the legal frameworks for antibiotic prescriptions and liability/responsibility distinguish.
Conclusively: The risk is there, but the global community has identified it, and is taking more and more actions to fight it. In this context, Hahn-Schickard participates strongly in these efforts of the community through its projects and networks.
Hier geht es zum Review.