Antibiotic resistance (AMR) poses a significant global threat of far-reaching proportions. It is estimated that drug resistant infections contribute to nearly 5 million deaths every year. In the European Union, more than 33.000 people die each year due to AMR, with an economic impact of about €1,5 billion/year in healthcare costs and productivity loss (44-46). WHO has declared AMR as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity and has requested all countries to implement national action plans to prevent the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. It is therefore a serious public health crisis that affects the global economies. The WHO estimated that if no action is taken, the death toll is expected to increase to 10 million deaths per year by 2050, surpassing diabetes, heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death (30).
AMR is a complex process that occurs as bacteria adapt to the continuous presence of antibiotics resulting in new bacterial strains that no longer respond to antibiotics treatment, making infections virtually untreatable and thus with increased risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
The SMARTgNOSTICS project proposes a holistic “One Health” approach to the AMR problem through the development of devices/solutions to target bacteria, AMR genes and antibiotic residues across diverse fields that compose the AMR cycle: human and animal health, food safety and the environment.
The goal is to develop point-of-care (POC) solutions that can be simultaneously "lab-on-a-chip" coupled with data acquisition and processing through Artificial Intelligence (AI), that provide integrated data for predictive analyses of AMR genes and/or pathogens. This will provide an Early Warning System to control/monitor/prevent an upcoming “superbug” pandemic.
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