The World Health Organization has chosen a Vancouver-based health tech company to distribute its latest guidelines on antibiotic use.
This is the first time the WHO has created guidance for healthcare providers prescribing antibiotics.
The WHO says antimicrobial resistance is a global health threat and contributes to millions of deaths worldwide each year and attributes it in part to the “inappropriate use and overuse” of antibiotics.
The new manual, called the AWaRe Antibiotic Book, aims to help doctors prescribe the right drugs in the right amounts for more than 30 of the most common clinical infections in children and adults.
Aware manual available on the app
Vancouver-based Firstline was chosen as the company to distribute the manual globally through its website and free app.
According to Jason Buck, Chief Strategy Officer, the guide will be an easy-to-use tool for prescribers when determining which antibiotic to prescribe for their patients.
“It normally involves following a decision tree or referral pathway to treat a 12-year-old child with meningitis in the emergency room, for example,” he explained.
According to Buck and the WHO, the guide will be particularly useful in places around the world where the WHO is the only reliable source of health advice.
“It will be used by people who don’t have access to the experts at Fraser Health or Vancouver Island Health or Interior, etc.,” Buck said. “In other countries, there is simply no effective dissemination of clinical knowledge, so doctors act out of habit or out of their guidance or even without guidance.”
Canadian researchers have produced an antibiotic database
The research that led to the creation of the Aware manual is also a Canadian contribution.
The antibiotic database and classification was created by a team of scientists at McMaster University, led by Mark Loeb, a professor and infectious disease physician.
Loeb says they determine which drugs are best for certain conditions — also called effectiveness — by looking at the results of randomized controlled trials.
“There were trials that compared one antibiotic to another antibiotic, so we made a decision based on the evidence call for all of these syndromes,” he said.
Loeb points out that this work also led to the creation of a category of antibiotics classified as “reserve” antibiotics.
According to the Firstline app’s definition, reserve antibiotics should only be used as a “last resort” to treat life-threatening infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.
“They might be more likely to lead to some sort of resistance. The ones you want to watch out for,” Loeb explained.
“Where you have the kind of designer antibiotics that, you know, you don’t want people using every day. You want them to be very selective, very specific because if you overuse them, resistance can develop. develop with them.”
The Firstline app indicates that the use of reserve antibiotics should be closely monitored.