The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday announced an award of up to $104 million for a new project to combat drug-resistant bacteria.
The award from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) will support the Defeating Antibiotic Resistance through Transformative Solutions (DARTS) project, which will focus on developing a set of diagnostic platforms that can rapidly detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria from a blood sample, identify the right antibiotic for an infection in real time, and provide insight into how resistance develops.
"Antibiotic resistance is an urgent and growing threat, and we do not currently have the tools we need to combat it," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. "We must combine better stewardship of antibiotics with novel technologies in order to save lives – exactly what this award will do."
Compact and rapid diagnostic tool
ARPA-H officials say the goal of the project is to develop platforms that can aid antibiotic stewardship and be easily employed at any hospital or clinic.
"Quickly identifying the right antibiotic empowers healthcare providers to fight off superbugs and return patients to health," ARPA-H Program Manager Paul Sheehan, PhD, said in a press release. "With DARTS, we aim to develop a compact diagnostic tool for the most problematic bacterial strains."
The DARTS project also aims to develop a platform that can rapidly screen natural samples for new antibiotics and test combinations of antibiotics.
The project will be led by researchers from Harvard Medical School and will include scientists from 25 research groups.
We must combine better stewardship of antibiotics with novel technologies in order to save lives – exactly what this award will do.