The alarming rise in hospital and community acquired bacterial infections is a major public healthcare problem, which is fuelled by the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, warned in her 2011 report that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA and Clostridium difficile, are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.
Current methods to detect and identify bacterial infections are limited - the gold standard relies on lengthy laboratory methods. There is therefore a need for an early detection system, based on accurate rapid tests with minimal processing steps. Better diagnosis of patients will help to break cycles of transmission in the community, for example in care homes, and will improve antibiotic stewardship.