Resistance diagnostics as a public health tool to combat antibiotic resistance: A model-based evaluation

Rapid point-of-care resistance diagnostics (POC-RD) are thought to be a key tool in the fight against antibiotic resistance. By tailoring drug choice to infection genotype, doctors can improve treatment efficacy while limiting costs of inappropriate antibiotic prescription. Here we combine epidemiological theory and data to assess the potential of POC-RD innovations in a public health context, as a means to limit or even reverse selection for antibiotic resistance. POC-RD can be used to impose a non-biological fitness cost on resistant strains, by triggering targeted interventions that reduce their opportunities for transmission. We assess this diagnostic-imposed fitness cost in the context of a spectrum of bacterial population biologies and POC-RD conditional strategies, and find that the expected impact varies from selection against resistance for obligate pathogens to marginal public health improvements for opportunistic pathogens with high ‘bystander’ antibiotic exposure during asymptomatic carriage (e.g. the pneumococcus). We close by generalizing the notion of RD-informed strategies to incorporate both POC and carriage surveillance information, and illustrate that coupling transmission control interventions to the discovery of resistant strains in carriage can potentially select against resistance in a broad range of opportunistic pathogens.

Source: BioRXIV

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