Fighting AMR through rapid digital pandemic response

Fighting AMR through rapid digital pandemic response

  • 22/12/2021

In December, a consortium of 8 public and 4 private Swiss institutions has joined forces to address the silent pandemic of AMR by launching the ‘Swiss Pandemic & AMR – Health Economy Awareness Detect’ (SPEARHEAD) partnership.

SPEARHEAD will leverage lessons learnt to address the steadily worsening, silent pandemic of AMR, with potentially 10M deaths per year globally by 2050 (4 x the 2020 COVID-19 death toll) and the related economic impact on society. Alongside academic partners such as the University of Basel and the University Children’s Hospital of Basel, further stakeholders include pharma company Novartis, diagnostics specialist Resistell, Swiss RE and digital agency WAAT Switzerland GmbH.

SPEARHEAD builds on the partners’ existing expertise in COVID-19 and AMR to rapidly deploy digital pandemic responses to address AMR. The project has five main goals:

  • real-time data flow to and from decision-makers
  • better use of big data for risk stratification
  • timely diagnostics that can leapfrog a centralized laboratory infrastructure
  • better and broader citizen and community engagement as well as
  • early attention to the financial implications of the proposed innovations.

These goals will be used to mitigate the expected economic and societal impacts of AMR.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shown societal vulnerability to infections, it has also highlighted a global capacity to respond, particularly in the digital space and via public-private partnerships.

SPEARHEAD will ultimately contribute to optimised practices in managing AMR that may easily be harnessed to address future emerging infections, ultimately resulting in a more resilient healthcare system and society.

The partnership has been successful in securing funding from Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, to build a first-in-class, globally scalable, modular digital platform to improve antibiotic stewardship, with advanced patient stratification techniques and direct access to results from faster diagnostics. Direct citizen engagement will be used to raise awareness about the issue of AMR and pandemic preparedness, and inform the development of the platform.

SPEARHEAD is a first co-operation within the Bio-Campus, the strategic tri-national (Switzerland-France-Germany) initiative by the University of Basel, with its vision of co-creating the future of health and well-being with partners from academia, industry, start-ups, and civil society, driving innovation with global impact on society.

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