Rapid analysis is the new weapon in the fight

Rapid share – real time infection tracking to limit the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Rapid analysis is the new weapon in the fight

Rapid share is the name of the technology, developed by 1928 Diagnostics in Gothenburg. In one go, it solves two very difficult challenges: it analyses the complete genome from isolated bacteria and allows hospitals to share the information with each other, to be able to determine with certainty whether the same bacteria have turned up in several different locations or not, and to provide answers as to which antibiotic(s) the bacteria are resistant to, so that doctors can choose a different one.

Complete DNA analysis

“Our software analyses the entire DNA sequence of the bacterium. This means three million points that are evaluated and can be compared with the same three million points from another bacterium isolated from a sick person at another hospital. It is extremely important for hospitals to be able to share this information with each other and with current technology there has not been an effective method for this”, says Wilhelm Paulander, a microbiologist who has worked on resistant bacteria since 2002.

Quick answer from the cloud

Being able to observe whether or not resistant bacteria are genetically identical is crucial for the hospitals’ subsequent work in tracing the chain of infection and it could also facilitate and speed up appropriate treatment. Currently, it is difficult for hospitals even internally between different wards to exchange and compare information. With Rapid share, it doesn’t matter where the hospitals are located – the comparison is done via a cloud service.

“The basic work is still done at the hospital. They isolate the bacterium, make a culture and extract and sequence its DNA. They then upload the raw data to our cloud service and there it is compared within ten minutes”, says Wilhelm Paulander.

Currently, Örebro hospital and Karolinska and Sahlgrenska university hospitals have joined the sharing group that is collaborating on the development of the software.

“We have got an enormous amount of feedback from the hospitals. Mostly about technical aspects, but also on how the information is to be visualised.”

CE certification and launch

Now 1928 Diagnostics is submitting an application for CE certification of the product, which is simultaneously being broadened so as to handle more bacteria.

“Interest is very high. We had a funding round during spring 2017 and took in SEK 22 million in venture capital. The diagnostics market is almost unmeasurable, in particular if you come in with a new and fast technology that addresses a globally growing problem.

Competition exists in the form of other bioinformatic software, but according to Wilhelm Paulander it is mainly developed for research purposes and very limited by the difficulty in sharing the information.

“We will conclude our project in May 2018, after which we should be able to move ahead with a commercial launch.”

Updated: 29 January 2018

Text: Jörgen Olsson