the CEA is developing a tool to identify bacteria at a lower cost

You have developed a tool that can identify the presence of bacteria. Can you explain to us what it is and how it works?

To treat bacterial infections, practitioners usually need to know the species responsible for the infection, and for this they actually take a sample from the patient and put it on a “Petri dish” – c is a small plastic box in which there is a nutrient medium that will grow the bacteria whose identity we are trying to find out. And knowing the identity of a bacterium, it helps to choose the best antibiotic, it helps to predict the evolution of the infection.

And so to take care of it…

Yes, to treat it better, to reduce treatment failures, and above all to choose the most suitable antibiotic, the most relevant because, as you know, there are more and more antibiotic-resistant infections. And therefore choosing the most effective antibiotic is not always easy.

Has the tool you designed ever been tested?

This tool is currently being tested at the CHU Saint Pierre hospital in Brussels, on patients with blood infections. And our objective is therefore to first test this tool in Europe in order to improve it, to tropicalize it, that is to say adapt it to the specific conditions of Africa so that we can test it in Central Africa from early next year.

You were talking about the particular conditions in Africa; what are those special conditions there?

The first is purchasing power: hospitals obviously don’t have the same purchasing power as ours, so we’re aiming for equipment that would cost around €5 to €10,000 instead of €1,500.00 for a equipment that will do the same thing in Europe; so obviously ours will be less efficient, but the idea is that it should therefore be less expensive, simpler in terms of maintenance. And also we use a technology where there are far fewer consumables because logistics is a recurring, crucial problem in Africa. So whether in terms of costs, maintenance, logistics, we thought about a tool that adapts to the particularities of Africa.

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