Global Point of Care

Fighting antibiotic resistance with rapid diagnostics.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes become immune to the medications that previously used to kill them. The process happens naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the problem. To keep pace, our behavior has to evolve faster than the microbes.

What happens when antibiotics stop being effective?

After hundreds of years of steady medical breakthroughs, we’re looking at the very real possibility of medical setbacks.1

Due to antibiotic resistance, a growing number of bacterial infections — such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea — are becoming harder to treat as microbes become more resilient to treatment.

It’s not inconceivable that one day, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management, caesarean sections and hip replacements will be considered very high risk — and that the risk of dying from a common infection would outweigh the benefits of the medical procedure.

Older people and immunocompromised people may have a higher risk of dying from a drug-resistant infection1, but antimicrobial resistance is a much bigger problem: Whenever anyone in a community abuses antibiotics, the drugs become less effective for everyone in the community.

Developing new medicines isn’t enough. The discovery of new antimicrobials is too slow to keep pace with how quickly microbes are evolving to resist old medicines.2 We need to preserve the effectiveness of the antimicrobials which we currently have.

Just as important, it’s critical we move away from the broad over-prescription of antibiotics towards more targeted therapy.

What happens when antibiotics stop being effective?

90% of Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) are caused by a virus.3

Strep A is the cause of acute pharyngitis (sore throat) in only 15‑30% of cases, however antibiotics are prescribed in up to 75% of cases.4

Globally, 480,000 people develop multi-drug resistant TB each year.5

Annual deaths resulting from antimicrobial-resistant infections could rise to 10 million a year in 2050, from the current 700,000.6

Imagine if your newborn was infected by a resistant strain of pneumonia and lapsed into a coma? Or your grandmother surviving a bypass operation — only to pass away from a minor infection that proved resistant to any medication?

We won’t stop until the unnecessary antibiotic use does.

Test Target Treat – An Animated Story

Watch how Test Target Treat empowers you to make targeted treatment decisions sooner with rapid diagnostics.

At Abbott, we’ve always been deeply committed to delivering reliable and actionable information through rapid diagnostic tests, contributing to better clinical and economic healthcare outcomes globally.

Our socially-conscious business approach focuses on creating breakthrough, cost-effective diagnostic solutions that address the most intractable diseases for all populations in all corners of the world.

Antibiotic resistance is a global challenge we take very seriously — and very personally. By supplying healthcare providers with a comprehensive set of diagnostic information, Abbott empowers a shift in prescribing behavior away from the over-use of antibiotics, which spawned the growing prevalence of serious healthcare-associated infections like MRSA and C. difficile.

Our Test Target Treat™ initiative empowers healthcare providers to make targeted treatment decisions sooner — reducing inappropriate antimicrobial use and the spread of resistance.

Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) may decrease the amount of inappropriate prescribing by shortening the time to receive a test result and guiding treatment decisions. The decrease in the amount of time to analyze a result benefits the management of infectious diseases considerably.7

The power of rapid diagnostic testing at the point of care.

Immediate identification of a potential infecting organism can help doctors determine whether or not to initiate an antibiotic.

Abbott offers a best-in-class rapid diagnostic which enables healthcare practitioners to distinguish between respiratory tract infections that require treatment and those that are self-limiting as well as several other diagnostic tools that can help clinicians identify pathogens at the point of care and define an appropriate treatment strategy earlier.

Rapid microbiological tests provide opportunities for antimicrobial stewardship programs to improve antimicrobial use and clinical and economic outcomes.8, 9, 10, 11 Standard techniques for identification of organisms are based on phenotypic methods, which can require 48–72 hours to provide final results, compared with rapid diagnostic tests, which provide final results within minutes.

The use of existing rapid diagnostics and the development of new rapid diagnostics are critical components of the global strategy to combat AMR.2

Rapid microbiological tests represent a significant advancement in the management of infectious diseases.12

Abbott offers a broad range of rapid diagnostic tools that help healthcare practitioners distinguish between respiratory tract infections that require treatment and those that are self-limiting — and define an appropriate treatment strategy earlier.

  • Influenza – accurate rapid molecular test in less than 15 minutes
  • Strep A Pharyngitis – accurate rapid molecular test in less than 8 minutes
  • C. difficile – detect GDH and Toxin A/B simultaneously in less than 30 minutes
  • Malaria – first WHO prequalified RDT and first and only FDA-cleared Malaria RDT
  • C-reactive protein (CRP) – a rapid in vitro diagnostic test to help reduce diagnostic uncertainty and guide antibiotic decision-making

Rapid diagnostic tests could transform the fight against superbugs by changing the way we use antibiotics and other precious drugs.2

Rapid Diagnostics would reduce unnecessary prescription.

Rapid Diagnostics would reduce unnecessary prescription.

27m get antibiotics unnecessarily
13m who need antibiotics get them

Out of 40m people who get given antibiotics for respiratory issues.13

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Significantly faster than other molecular methods and more accurate than conventional rapid testing, giving you the confidence to make effective patient management decisions sooner.

Test first to combat antibiotic resistance

The research is as sobering as it is clear: People with infections which are resistant to antibiotics are considerably more likely to die from their infections.

And even if they don’t, they’re looking at significantly longer hospital stays and increased risk of re-infection and secondary infections.

To prevent the inappropriate prescription and use of antibiotics — and deviate from the path toward to a post-antibiotic era — rapid diagnostics must be the cornerstone of the overall antimicrobial resistance global strategy. Abbott is committed to being part of the solution, both through technology and education.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. July 2014.
  2. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Rapid diagnostics: Stopping Unnecessary Use Of Antibiotics. 2015.
  3. Bjerrum, L. et al. (2010) Health Alliance for Prudent Prescribing, Yield and Use of Antimicrobial Drugs in the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Infections (HAPPY AUDIT). 2010. BioMed Central Family Practice, [Online]. Available at: 2010, 11:29
  4. Maltezou, H.C. et al. (2008) Evaluation of a rapid antigen detection test in the diagnosis of streptococcal pharyngitis in children and its impact on antibiotic prescription. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 62:1407–1412.
  5. World Health Organization (WHO). Antimicrobial resistance Fact sheet. September 2016. Accessed October 13, 2016.
  6. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: Final report and recommendations. 2016.
  7. Clerc O, Greub G (2010) Routine use of point-of-care tests: usefulness and application in clinical microbiology. Clin Microbiol Infect 16: 1054-1061.
  8. Lesprit, P. and Brun-Buisson, C. (2008) Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship. Curr Opin Infect Dis:21:344-9.
  9. Nowak, M.A. et al. (2012) Clinical and economic outcomes of a prospective antimicrobial stewardship program. Am J Health-Syst Pharm 69:1500-1508.
  10. Carling, P. et al. (2003) Favorable impact of a multidisciplinary antibiotic management program conducted during 7 years. Infect Cont Hosp Epidemiol: 24:699-706.
  11. Kollef, M. et al. (1999) Inadequate antimicrobial treatment of infections: a risk factor for hospital mortality among critically ill patients. Chest 115:462-74 (As Cited by CDC 12 Steps to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance: Hospitalized Adults) [Presentation])
  12. Bauer K, et. al. (2014) Review of Rapid Diagnostic Tests Used by Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs. Clinical Infectious Diseases 59(S3):S134–45.
  13. Shapiro D J, et al. Antibiotic prescribing for adults in ambulatory care in the USA, 2007-2009. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2013.
Antibiotic resistance