Pioneering diagnostics

Resistance to antibiotics

Antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics is a public health threat*. Diagnostic tests contribute to reducing the improper use of antibiotics and help ensure they remain effective. They are also a precious tool for epidemiological surveillance and prevention programs.

The crucial role of diagnostics

Diagnostic tests are able to identify the agent causing an infectious disease and to detect its potential resistance to antibiotics. Such tests contribute to the optimal use of antibiotics, used only to treat bacterial infections. Selecting the antibiotic best adapted to the targeted bacterium helps to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and therefore to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics.

Developing these high medical value tests is a priority for bioMérieux. The Company is a pioneer in the development of diagnostic tests for the identification of pathogens, the detection of their potential resistance to antibiotics, as well as antibiotic susceptibility testing to help doctors determine precisely which treatment to prescribe.

Renewed support for the GLOBAL-PPS, a survey of unprecedented scope

In 2017, bioMérieux renewed its support to the Global Point Prevalence Survey (GLOBAL-PPS**), which brings a unique knowledge of antibiotic consumption and antimicrobial resistance worldwide.

Coordinated by Professor Hermann Goossens and Dr. Ann Versporten of the University of Antwerp (Belgium), this survey highlights the importance of in vitro diagnostics and the need to expand the use of diagnostic tests to improve antibiotic prescribing practices worldwide.

The initial findings of this study, which was launched in 2015, sparked a great deal of interest and were published on April 19, 2018 in the scientific journal The Lancet Global Health.

In 2017, the second edition of the study looked at 400 hospitals in 51 countries and collected data concerning more than 100,000 patients. Study findings were presented during ECCMID 2018. On this occasion, bioMérieux and the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology at the University of Antwerp have awarded three scientific scholarships to healthcare professionals. This collaborative experience is intended to help them set up action plans within their respective hospitals to improve practices and encourage the appropriate use of antibiotics as a means of combatting AMR, based on the 2017 findings of the GLOBAL-PPS.

In view of the importance of this information to effect beneficial changes in hospital practice, the GLOBAL-PPS will now be repeated annually.

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Targeted initiatives in the field

CARE, a multi-partner program in China 

In 2013, the Fondation Mérieux launched the CARE (China Against drug REsistance) Program. With the support of bioMérieux, which oversees its implementation, the CARE program aims to set up a new policy for prescribing antibiotics in order to limit the emergence of new resistance mechanisms. In addition to hygiene measures, this policy requires the reassessment of any antibiotic prescription after 48 hours, based on tests results provided by the microbiology laboratory, as well as a maximum treatment duration of seven days, except in exceptional circumstances. In 2016, the first point prevalence survey was conducted in four clinical departments of the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University in Zhejiang Province. In 2018, the CARE program is planned to be extended to 5 to 10 hospitals in different provinces of China.

COMBACTE, a European network to fight against antibiotic resistance

Eight partners in academia and seven partners in industry are collaborating within the scope of COMBACTE (COMbatting BACTerial resistance in Europe) to develop new antibiotics and further our understanding of the medical value of diagnostics. bioMérieux is a partner of the COMBACTE-CDI project, dedicated to Clostridium difficile infections (CDI), which are among the most prevalent healthcare associated infections. Launched in November 2017 for a period of 3 years, it aims to better understand the epidemiology and the clinical impact of CDI in order to improve patient outcomes. bioMérieux shares its microbiology expertise and know-how with the other members of the COMBACTE network. Our R&D teams analyze samples coming from patients in different European countries for the ultra-sensitive detection of toxins A and B. In addition, our products – such as the BIOFIRE® FILMARRAY® Gastrointestinal Panel and the BIOMÉRIEUX EPISEQ® software suite for the analysis of stool samples and the characterization of isolated bacterial strains – are available to partners in the clinical network. 

PERFORM, a project in Europe

The European project PERFORM** (Personalized risk assessment for improved management of febrile children across Europe) addresses the problem of identifying a bacterial infection and reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance by developing new tests to differentiate between a viral and a bacterial infection.
The PERFORM consortium brings together 18 international organizations from 10 countries. Of the 10, bioMérieux is the only partner from industry.


 bioMérieux alongside international bodies against antibiotic resistance

  • Signatory to the declaration on antimicrobial resistance at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland) in 2017.
  • Took part in the launch of the AMR Industry Alliance, a consortium created to drive and measure industry progress and provide sustainable solutions to curb antimicrobial resistance. Mark Miller, bioMérieux’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, sits on the Alliance’s Board of Directors as a representative of the diagnostics industry

* Forecasts are alarming: by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more than 10 million AMR-related deaths annually, which represents one death every three seconds, with an associated cost of over US$100,000 billion:

** bioMérieux is the exclusive sponsor of the Global Point Prevalence Survey. The Company funds the survey but plays no role in the study design, selection, analysis and interpretation of data nor in drafting the report. The data, which are strictly confidential, are stored anonymously at the Coordination Center of the University of Antwerp.  

** The PERFORM grant is one of the largest awarded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 health program (€18 million). Over a five-year period (2016-2021), it provides funding for the development of novel diagnostic tests to improve care for children presenting with high fever on arrival at a hospital or a health clinic.