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Development of diagnostic assays for rapid detection of antibiotic resistance

Dr Jaroslav Hrabák, Charles University



Antibiotic (AB) resistant bacteria are a rising public health threat and cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to CDC. In Europe, a similar situation is expected. The cost of medical care connected to infectious diseases caused by resistant microbes is estimated to be 7 billion Euros. With no action antibiotic resistance will develop into one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development (WHO). The fast detection of antibiotic resistance before therapy can effectively safe lives.


We developed a rapid assay for the detection of (AB) resistance mechanisms in bacteria based on MALDI-TOF MS. This assay is based on the detection of a variety of enzymes responsible for the degradation of common antibiotics such as β-lactams using MALDI-TOF MS according to their molecular weight. Our rapid assay is available in a kit-like-format and detects one of the most common and dangerous resistant mechanism, the production of carbapenemases, which have the ability to hydrolyze commonly used AB like penicillins, cephalosporins, and monobactams. The detection of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteria (CPE) is necessary for the effective prevention of the transmission of this pathogen family, including Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia pestis, Klebsiella, and Shigella.

Commercial Opportunity

The economic cost of dealing with the consequences of AB resistant are estimated to be high and could cause 10 million deaths annually in 2050. We estimated the market for our test with 10 000 000 US dollars in the next 10 years.

Development Status

The assay is validated on our robust collection of resistant bacterial isolates (>1000).

Patent Situation

International Patent Application published under PCT on December 24, 2014.

Further Reading


Development of diagnostic assays for rapid detection of antibiotic resistance

Determination of Specific Enzymes (β-lactamases) for Typing Purpose