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DRAIGON: pioneering global initiative using AI to predict antimicrobial resistance from genomic data

The ambitious project mission is to develop a novel diagnostic tool to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) through the integration of genome sequencing and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for patients infected with multi-drug resistant pathogens

December 18, 2023

The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance are caused by human activity, particularly the excessive use of antimicrobials for treating, preventing, or controlling infections in humans, animals, and plants. As a result, antimicrobial drugs become ineffective against microorganisms, and subsequently, infections become difficult to treat or even untreatable. This in turn increases the risk of severe illness, disability, and death, as well as further spread of AMR. 

AMR is ranked as one of the top global public health threats by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2023 the European Parliament recognised AMR as one of the top three priority health threats in the EU[1]. It is estimated that AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million global deaths in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths[2].



In addition to prevention and treatment measures, the early availability of accurate and rapid diagnostics plays an important role in controlling and mitigating the negative impact of AMR. Current diagnostics often take rather long to the delivery of test results that are required for prompt detection and prevention of outbreaks and guidance of antimicrobial therapy.

To address this challenge, the DRAIGON consortium aims to develop an innovative in vitro diagnostic device (IVD) that integrates whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and AI for the rapid and accurate diagnosis of patients infected with multi-drug resistant (MDR) microorganisms.

The consortium proposes to validate and demonstrate the clinical efficacy of a novel diagnostic test focusing on blood and joint infections at five hospitals across the globe (in the Netherlands, Austria, Albania and the United States). This diagnostic test will be easy to implement and may also function as an early detection system to prevent cross-border spread of pathogens. To guide the implementation of the tools developed in DRAIGON, an extensive health technology assessment (HTA) will be performed. This assessment will consider health-economic implications, patient outcomes, and social aspects.

The DRAIGON consortium is convinced that offering innovative genetic analysis of pathogens will improve clinical management for patients with infections, and monitoring of AMR. Thus, DRAIGON will directly enhance patient care and contribute to global AMR surveillance.

Coordinated by the EVI, the consortium includes internationally recognised experts in various fields. This includes sequencing platform and assay development, bioinformatics and machine learning, clinical microbiology, infection prevention and control, antimicrobial therapy and stewardship, and health economics. Together, they aim to jointly develop an in vitro diagnostic solution to target virtually any pathogen-antimicrobial combination.

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[1] Prudent use of antibiotics and more research needed to fight AMR: News: European parliament [Internet]. European Parliament; 2023 [cited 2023 Dec 13]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20230524IPR91916/prudent-use-of-antibiotics-and-more-research-needed-to-fight-amr

[2] Antimicrobial Resistance Collaborators. Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. Lancet 2022, 399, 629–655. 


 

Quick facts about DRAIGON:

Project full name: Diagnosing Infections with Multi-Drug Resistant Microorganisms using AI-powered Genomic Antibiotic Susceptibility Prediction from Long-Read Sequencing Data.

Start date: 01/01/2024

End Date: 31/12/2027

Funding agency: European Commission, the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) organization, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Budget:  6.34 million euros

Coordinator: European Vaccine Initiative (EVI)

Consortium: partners from 3 EU countries, and 4 organizations from outside the EU, including Albania, the UK, Switzerland, and the USA.

 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101137383. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.



 

CONTACT

Adriana Vives

European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) - Project Manager

PROJECT COORDINATOR


PROJECT PARTNERS:

Camtech Innovations Limited (United Kingdom)

HEALTH-ECORE B.V. (Netherlands)

Isala Hospital (Netherlands)

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY (United States)


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