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The University of Bristol trial to test rapid checks for reduction of antibiotic prescriptions

Published on 24/11/22 at 10:18am

The University of Bristol has begun a trial to see if the rapid testing of initial symptoms could cut the number of antibiotic prescriptions given out. It is also hoped this will slow the growing problem of antibiotic immunity.


It is common for doctors to prescribe antibiotics when they’re not sure of the root cause of the problem. However, antibiotics are only effective if the infection is bacterial, rather than viral.


The swab tests can detect multiple viruses and some bacteria, and have results in 45 minutes.  These rapid tests can then give doctors a better idea as to if they should prescribe antibiotics or not.


Globally, health ministers are growing more concerned over the rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is partly fueled by the unnecessary use of antibiotics. AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites mutate and no longer respond to antibiotics. This is making treating illnesses more difficult, and increases the risk of spread, more severe illness, and death.


Professor Alastair Hay, a GP and chief investigator of the study said, “Industry is investing a lot of money in the development of these tests and the potential future cost to the NHS is high. It’s therefore important we are confident they are a good use of scarce NHS funds before they are introduced into routine care.”


James Spargo

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