Dr. Gunnar Kahlmeter is quite a celebrity in his field of expertise. As a clinical microbiologist since 1971, he’s been battling antimicrobial resistance all his life, and most of his research has been in antimicrobial resistance and infection control. 1928 Diagnostics is proud and thankful to have him as a member of the board, where he serves as an advisor when it comes to the facts of things in infection control and microbiology.
We are today in a position where we need to rapidly identify bacteria and characterize the susceptibility pattern of it to see what antimicrobials we can use. And also where we need to rapidly type bacteria to be able to to say whether a specific bacteria is part of a chain of spread between patients.
Gunnar Kahlmeter believes that 1928 Diagnostics has a very important role to fill through the techniques that they have adapted and the software that they are building. And that the company is in a position to actually be very important in the battle against antimicrobial resistance and healthcare infections. Because with data comes the possibility to track your actions over time. When asked about how a hospital can know that they are in control, his answer is not to just follow protocol and procedures, but to look back and see if they have been successful over time. From his point of view, the laboratory as the key to control. The lab will take the right samples, identify the species and the resistance pattern, type the bacterium, make sure that you can couple incidents in separate rooms or wards and advise as to what needs to be done.
The source of hospital acquired infections is really us, the people. The patients, the hospital staff, we all carry bacteria. And people need to know about the dangers and how to behave to prevent spreading infections. To be proactive in your infection control, irrespective of what healthcare system you're working in, you have to make sure that the whole chain of events is carefully planned and organized. Make sure that you know or can find out exactly how and where an outbreak started, as well as how outbreaks are linked.
And Dr. Kahlmeter can boil down the most important drivers of antimicrobial resistance to the overuse of antibiotics and the spread of multi resistant bacteria between patients.
It's one of those situations where we all have responsibility. It's a bit like the climate catastrophe, everyone has to do their part and that part may seem small but unless we put all those small parts together, we will not succeed.