Seattle database tracks superbugs, helps hospitals find best drugs to fight them

To better equip hospitals in the fight against antibiotic resistance, a group of physicians and scientists in Seattle launched a nonprofit organization in September to develop a database of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Seattle Times reports.

The group, Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring, Analysis and Diagnostics Alliance, or ARMADA, said it wants to "get a grasp on the situation" by building a database that tracks and "fingerprints" bacterial strains.

"Right now a patient comes to the doctor with an infection, and the doctor knows a lot about the patient, but doesn't know anything about the bug," said ARMADA founder Evgeni Sokurenko, MD, PhD. "How a patient will react to an infection will be tracked in their medical records, but nothing is being tracked about the bug, even though the bug will repeat itself, and no one will know what it has done in other patients."

ARMADA will gather information on how superbugs react to a variety of antibiotics. In giving this data to hospitals and microbiology labs, health practitioners can immediately find the most effective drug for patients.

The group has collected data for 30,000 strains so far and aims to increase this number tenfold in the next few years.

The project receives funding from the National Institutes of Health and partners with Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle-based Harborview Medical Center and Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

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