Talented Teoranta: David McIntyre’s journey from the 2015 Open Morning to joining Team Randox

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Talented Teoranta: David McIntyre’s journey from the 2015 Open Morning to joining Team Randox

It’s not every day you get to have a cup of tea and a chat with someone who’s been involved in revolutionising the face of global health – that’s why we think our Open Mornings are so important.

Our next one is on Friday 23rd December at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Donegal – if you’re a scientist, engineer, software developer or software tester we’d love you to join us.

During our 2015 Open Morning, final year Engineering student David McIntyre came along to find out more, and was so inspired he left his CV. Now he’s part of our team. Read more to find out why.

 

Hi David, how did you start your career with Randox Teoranta?

I first came here on the Christmas Eve Open Morning 2015.  I was home for the holidays, and as I was in my final year I was obviously thinking about where I would go after graduation. I already knew a few people who worked here and I’d heard it was doing some impressive things, but I wanted to see for myself what a €25m R&D facility looked like.

What was your first impression of the facilities here?

My first impression didn’t disappoint. It is a top class facility and is packed with the latest technology. You don’t see many companies as high end as this in Donegal- it’s really one of a kind. When I arrived I met Christina the Engineering Manager who gave me a tour of each of the departments. I was really pleased that I got to view the Randox Biochip as I’d heard a lot about it in the news, and I also get to walk about the manufacturing and engineering departments. I got to talk to some of the engineers and ask them questions, and see some of their design work which I was extremely impressed with. It gave me a good feel for the facility, because I could visualise myself here –where I’d be, and who I’d be working with. Everyone was very friendly which put me at ease straight away so I decided to submit my CV at the end of the tour.

How did you find the recruitment process?

As part of the recruitment process I was invited back for six weeks to undergo an assessment period which was a brilliant experience. It actually happened before University started back so it suited me perfectly.

At the end of the six weeks I was offered a full time positon which I was thrilled about. I was delighted that I was able to get a job in my own county and not have to commute long distances to work each day. Currently I live in to Kincasslagh, Belcruit, Co Donegal which is only 15 minutes from Dungloe.

What was the most challenging thing you faced during your first few months?

The most challenging thing that I faced in the beginning was getting used to how everything works. This was my first job related to my degree so I didn’t really know what to expect. It took a while to get used to procedures and dealing with documentation – with a global company there is a lot you have to get right!

I’m well settled in now and really enjoying my role here in Randox, especially working with our 3D printer. To be given the opportunity to work with a 3D printer is great, that’s really been the highlight of my year so far as it’s such a unique piece of equipment. I have had the opportunity to create gears and even bearings which has been really interesting. It’s such an impressive machine. We can design a part and print it the very same day. If you were going to do this via conventional methods you would need to create the drawings and send the drawings to a fabricator and then you would be waiting a week or so to get it back.

What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in engineering?

My advice to anyone who is interested in engineering or science is to definitely come along to the Open Morning 2016 and see what Randox Teoranta has to offer. It’s a fantastic facility in Donegal, in a beautiful location and you will get a good insight as to what goes on in a design and manufacturing facility.

This is something that you don’t really get the opportunity to do in college and it’s a chance to get some behind the scenes knowledge of what it’s really like to work as an engineer. Everyone who works here is very friendly so you can ask as many questions as you like. It worked out great for me – it could do for you too!

For more information about our Randox Teoranta Open Morning on Friday 23rd December please contact randoxpr@randox.com

Make sure to share on your social media platforms using the hashtag #TalentedTeoranta!


Senior R&D Scientist at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Dr Sarah Gildea, on her PhD in Equine Influenza Virus and what she loves the most about being home

Since the opening of Randox Teoranta back in 2010, our team of scientists, engineers and software developers has grown significantly.

Career opportunities at our state-of-the-art research, development and manufacturing centre is utilising the talented skill set of Donegal people and newcomers alike, while actively attracing the Donegal Diaspora back to the area.

Donegal graduates who are working away from home have the opportunity to return, or for those from further afield, they have the opportunity to experience the distinct Donegal lifestyle for the first time.

Senior R&D Scientist at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Dr Sarah Gildea, returned to her native Donegal to work in Randox Teoranta, after having worked in the Irish Equine Centre in Kildare.  She chatted to us about her PhD in Equine Influenza Virus and what she loves the most about being home.

Hi Sarah, can you tell us a little bit about your background and where you started your career? 

I’m originally from Ardara which is in the south west of Donegal and about half an hour away from Dungloe where Randox Teoranta is based. Once I graduated from the University of Limerick with a Bsc in Equine Science, I got a job in the Virology Unit of The Irish Equine Centre, which is in Kildare. I stayed there for 13 years and during that time I got the opportunity to complete my PhD in Equine Influenza Virus.

Why did you choose Randox Teoranta?

After travelling to Kildare each week I finally got the opportunity to return home to work last June when I was lucky enough to join the Randox Teoranta team here in Dungloe. Travelling to Kildare was beginning to take its toll on me – I wasn’t home until late Friday evening and then I was away again on Sunday so it was always a short trip home. Don’t get me wrong now, it’s great to travel and see different parts of the world that you wouldn’t get the opportunity to see otherwise, but being a bit of a home bird I had wanted to come home for a while. I never thought that I would get the opportunity to work at home in the field of science, especially veterinary science. So as you can imagine I was delighted when I heard that Randox was opening a new R&D site in Dungloe and was expanding their expertise to include a veterinary division. I thought it was such a rare opportunity to be given the chance to work in my area of expertise so close to where I grew up.

What’s the difference in terms of the facilities between Randox Teoranta and the Irish Equine Centre?

Coming from the Irish Equine Centre where I was involved in diagnosing diseases for race horse trainers and veteran surgeons from all around Ireland to Randox Teoranta where I am developing tests to supply the likes of Irish Equine Centre and like-minded companies had its advantages. I already had a broad knowledge of vet diagnostics and diseases but now instead of diagnosing diseases I am creating the innovative diagnostic tests that the Irish Equine Centre would use. It meant that I already had a good knowledge on the flaws of some of the current tests and my experience gave me a good insight for what’s important when developing new innovative diagnostic tests.

How important is it that companies like Randox invest in places like Dungloe?

By investing in science and engineering at Randox Teoranta I have not only been able to bring back my knowledge and experience to my home county, but also teach and educate those in the community who are interested in pursuing a career in science but don’t necessarily want to travel far from home.  Randox Teoranta not only allows me to give back to the community but also make huge savings on  travel expenses as I no longer have to commute long distances to work each day. But really the most important thing for me is being close to all my family and friends.

For more information about our Randox Teoranta Open Morning on Friday 23rd December please contact randoxpr@randox.com

Make sure to share on your social media platforms using the hashtag #TalentedTeoranta!


Inflammatory Biomarker Series: CRP

An inflammatory biomarker detects inflammation in the body. Inflammation is not just the immediate, short-term response of the body to an injury or infection. Inflammation within the body can be a long-term, chronic condition resulting in a number of health implications. In diagnostics, measurement of an inflammatory biomarker can not only detect acute inflammation but provide a marker of treatment response.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation, infection and tissue injury. CRP is a particularly beneficial inflammatory biomarker as it is detected much faster than other markers in the blood. Levels of CRP increase when inflammation occurs and therefore it can be a significant biomarker in a range of diseases, including the following.

Cardiovascular Disease

An increasing amount of research exists to suggest CRP is not only a useful, non-specific inflammatory biomarker, but it may have a direct influence on coronary heart disease and cardiac events1. Inflammation can occur when LDL cholesterol builds up in the artery walls causing atherosclerosis. Modifiable risk factors of atherosclerosis include smoking, diabetes, poor diet, high blood pressure and physical inactivity, all factors which subsequently increase the risk of heart attacks, ischemic stroke, peripheral artery disease and even vascular dementia2,3.

Studies have also shown that persistent low levels of CRP can contribute to a person developing CVD. Therefore using high sensitivity CRP as an inflammatory biomarker can detect low levels, helping to predict the likelihood of a patient developing CVD in the future.

Diabetes

Research suggests that inflammation in the body can influence the development of type 2 diabetes. With the ability to be managed through diet and exercise, type 2 diabetes is commonly associated with obesity. Research has shown that excess body fat can cause continuous chronic low-grade inflammation as a result of inflammatory cytokines and increased plasma levels of CRP. As a result, this chronic inflammation has the ability to cause insulin resistance leading to the development of type 2 diabetes4.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A three year study which analysed the bone and joint health of 10,000 patient samples in India has found that inflammatory biomarkers, in particular CRP and ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) were raised in most of the samples compared to any other markers5. Although CRP is a non-specific inflammatory biomarker, it can be used alongside other tests, such as Rheumatoid Factor, to diagnose inflammatory joint diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not only will CRP levels be higher due to chronic inflammation, but CRP levels can be monitored to assess levels of inflammation over time, allowing clinicians offer effective treatment.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a condition associated with inflammation of the lungs and airways. Studies have shown that measuring CRP levels is beneficial to detect exacerbations, when symptoms of COPD get suddenly worse and can last for several days. This is because CRP levels spike when exacerbations happen, causing lung function to deteriorate6.

Neonatal Bacterial Infections

CRP is one of the preferred and frequently used tests in neonatal units when diagnosing suspected bacterial infections, such as neonatal sepsis, in newborns who show signs on infection. Due to delayed synthesis during the inflammatory response, the sensitivity of CRP is lowest during early stages of infection. It is therefore critical that extremely low levels of CRP can be detected during diagnosis to distinguish whether symptoms are related to an infectious or non-infectious condition. This early detection then allows for rapid and appropriate neonatal treatment7.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Research suggests that using CRP as an inflammatory biomarker can help distinguish between Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)8. Although IBD and IBS have some similarities in symptoms, IBD causes chronic inflammation, whereas IBS is a non-inflammatory condition. Therefore using CRP as a biomarker can allow clinicians to deliver a confident and accurate diagnosis.

For health professionals

Randox Laboratories manufacture a wide range routine and niche biochemistry reagents for use in both a research and clinical setting. With a wide measuring range, the Randox CRP assay will perform excellently to detect levels outside of the healthy range. Also available is a Full Range CRP assay particularly beneficial for use in a neonatal setting, and a High Sensitivity CRP assay, depending on your diagnostic requirements. For more information, please contact: reagents@randox.com

References:

  1. Shrivastava, A. K., Singh, H.V., Raizada, A. and Singh, S.K. C-reactive protein, inflammation and coronary heart disease. The Egyptian Heart Journal. 67, 89-97. (2015)
  2. American Heart Association. Inflammation and Heart Disease. Available from: https://goo.gl/d82Ynr  (2016)
  3. Harvard Health Publications. What you eat can fuel or cool inflammation. Harvard Health Publications. Available from: https://goo.gl/e8m3El (2007)
  4. Zeyda, M. and Stulnig, T. M.  Obesity, Inflammation, and Insulin Resistance – A Mini-Review. Gerontology 2009; 55:379-386 (2009)
  5. Mukherjeel, R.  Bone and joint health are crucial aspect, usually ignored by Indians. The Times of India. Available from: https://goo.gl/qluzhI (2016)
  6. Anderson, G. P.  COPD, asthma and C-reactive protein. European Respiratory Journal 2006; 27: 874-876. (2006)
  7. Hofer, N., Zacharias, E., Müller, W. and Resch, B.  An update on the Use of C-Reactive Protein in Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis: Current Insights and New Tasks. Neonatology 2012; 102: 25-36 (2012)
  8. Silva, P.  Two Specific Proteins Allow the Exclusion of IBD in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBD News Today. Available from: https://goo.gl/pxMP53 (2015)
inflammatory biomarker


Celebrate Christmas with Randox Quality Control

T’was the week before Christmas and all through the lab not a thing could be heard not even a sound. The analyser lay silent asleep in the corner, the lab staff at home dreaming of a few days’ rest, only a few more days to go before the big day!

The big man in red, what will he bring those who already have everything? Peace, happiness and health for their loved ones throughout the festive break, that would be the wish for everyone to make. And what better way to ensure they stay healthy, well it all begins in the laboratory…

An important consideration to remember when choosing your lab Quality Control (QC) is that approximately 70% of clinical decisions are based on laboratory test results. It is therefore essential that the results gained from laboratory testing are accurate and reliable in order to provide the appropriate treatment and avoid or prevent potential misdiagnosis.

Patient results are of the utmost importance for a laboratory and therefore running the best Quality Control material should be at the top of their agenda. QC material should have a number of features that allow a lab to judge the overall quality of their output. These features include the controls ability to be commutable (which means how well it reacts as a replicate of a patient sample), is it a true third party control that has been manufactured to provide an independent and unbiased assessment of performance, does your control come with clinically relevant levels and does it have a long shelf life as well as a good open vial or reconstituted stability? These are the questions lab staff will be asking themselves when deciding on what QC is the right QC.

So stay off Santa’s naughty list by providing accurate and reliable patient test results, do this by employing Randox QC in your laboratory. Our controls have been designed to deliver significant cost savings without sacrificing on quality. With consolidated controls (combining up to 100 analytes in a single vial) your lab can reduce QC costs and preparation time, the inclusion of analytes present at clinical decision levels will eradicate the need for additional controls and because of our long shelf life (2 years for liquid controls, 4 years for lyophilised) and excellent stability claims your laboratory can be sure that expensive lot changes will be a thing of the past! Our controls can be described as true third party and this, combined with the commutable nature of the controls, leads to us being able to claim that we have the best Quality Control material around.

So this Christmas when deciding what QC to choose – make sure you look no further than Randox Quality Control. Our QC family is known as Acusera and our product offering includes QC and calibrator material, Interlaboratory Data Management Program (Acusera 24.7), the world’s largest international EQA/PT scheme better known as RIQAS and the newest addition to the family, Linearity or Calibration Verification material.

We have packages for every lab regardless of size and budget and we guarantee you will become ho-ho-hooked on Randox QC.

Wishing you all season’s greetings and a prosperous New Year from everyone at Randox QC.


QC Shelf Life – Why is it Important?

An important consideration when choosing your Quality Control material that is often overlooked is the shelf life of the control. With every new lot of control extensive validation studies must be performed. Regulatory bodies such as CLIA require new lot numbers to be evaluated before routine use in the laboratory. For example, CLIA has instructed that any new control lot to be run alongside patient samples will need to be verified alongside the old lot of control. The process is designed to give laboratory professionals confidence in the new material and ensure it is fit for purpose before implementing it in the lab.

As part of the validation process laboratories are required to assay both the old and new lots side by side. The current lot is then used to help verify if the new lot will be acceptable to run within the lab. Such validation studies can be very costly for a lab as well as being extremely time consuming – with some studies taking up to a month to complete! By choosing a control with a longer shelf life laboratories can aim to use the same lot of control for a longer time period. Ultimately this means fewer lot changes and minimal inconvenience for the lab. With a shelf life of 2 years for liquid controls and up to 4 years for lyophilised, coupled with unrivalled stability claims, employing Randox Quality Control in your laboratory will ensure that expensive lot changes will be a thing of the past. Our comprehensive control offering is guaranteed to increase efficiency and reduce costs in any laboratory without compromising on quality.

Contact us today to find out more information on our Acusera range of Quality Controls.


Children at increased risk of drug-resistant infections after taking antibiotics

Children who are prescribed antibiotics are 12 times more at risk of acquiring drug-resistant infections in the weeks afterwards, according to a leading public health figure.

Public Health England medical director Paul Cosford told the Science and Technology Committee this week that the risk is greater for younger people than it is for adults.

“We’ve got good evidence that if you or I have a course of antibiotics now, within three months our risk is three times to get a resistant infection of some sort because we’ve had the antibiotics affecting all the organisms in our bodies. If you’re a child you’re 12 times more likely to get a resistant infection in the three months after a course of antibiotics.”

Whilst acknowledging that the drugs do a have part to play, Cosford stressed this had to be done correctly – and compared antibiotics to “using a pesticide in a rich woodland.” At the same time as tackling the harmful infection the drugs will destroy useful bacteria in the gut.

The information was taken from two major reviews on the routine-use of antibiotics in primary care, and he said the results underline the importance of continued efforts to decrease prescription rates.

“There is a growing body of evidence that taking antibiotics makes it more likely that your next infection will be a resistant one, so prudent use of these life-saving medicines is essential.”

One review looked at children who had urinary tract infections and found that they were more than 13 times more likely to have contracted drug-resistant strains if they had been given antibiotics in the previous six months.

The 2014 Longitude Prize survey of antibiotics in primary care revealed that 90% of British GPs felt pressure from patients to give out the drugs, and almost half had done so knowing it would not treat the patient’s condition.

Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Edinburgh University told The Guardian that the consequences of antibiotic resistance required a global plan, just as with climate change. However he added that, “In terms of the threat to my own health, and that of my children, and my family’s health, I am much more concerned about antimicrobial resistance than I am about climate change.”

Randox is supporting the battle against antibiotic resistance. Our wide range of related products includes our Respiratory Multiplex Array which tests 22 common virus and bacteria pathogens can detect whether an antibiotic should be prescribed.

John Lamont, Chief Scientist at Randox Laboratories, whose team developed the molecular test, commented;

“Current diagnostic testing for respiratory infections takes at least 36 hours to confirm the nature of an infection, and they cannot name and categorise infections as bacterial or viral in the way that our respiratory test can. C-reactive protein tests, for example, that are currently in use can only indicate whether a bacterial infection is likely. We need more than just guess work to combat the antibiotic resistance pandemic.”

For more information, please visit http://www.randox.com/respiratory-multiplex-array/ or contact RandoxPR@randoxcom


Randox Diagnostics: Leading the Field in Equine Health

We wouldn’t be the experts in Equine Health we are without our team of highly knowledgeable and experienced veterinary scientists.

Dr. Sarah Gildea, Senior R&D Scientist at Randox Teoranta in Dungloe, Co. Donegal, Ireland, has a BSc Equine Health, a PhD in Equine Influenza Virus, and spent many years working in the Virology Unit of The Irish Equine Centre prior to joining our team.

 

‘Randox Diagnostics: Leading the Field in Equine Health’

by Dr. Sarah Gildea BSc PhD, Senior R&D Scientist at Randox

“With over 30 years’ experience, Randox is a leading specialist in the development of veterinary diagnostic solutions. Our extensive product portfolio includes diagnostic reagents, quality controls, external quality assessment (RIQAS) and the Rx series of clinical chemistry analysers which are specifically designed to monitor the general health and well-being of a diverse range of animal species.

“Long established in the equine market, our clinical chemistry analysers provide the largest and most comprehensive test menu available and are used extensively to monitor the health and nutritional status of horses all around the world. In addition, our clinical chemistry tests can also be used for therapeutic drug monitoring, assessing reproductive fitness and as an indirect method in the diagnosis of certain equine diseases/conditions.

“Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) otherwise known as “swamp fever” is a viral disease affecting horses which can cause intermittent fever, anaemia, emaciation and eventual death.  Although the disease is not always fatal, infected horses can become disease carriers thus posing a significant risk to other equines.  Hence, rapid diagnosis is of fundamental importance.  In a study carried out in Romania where the virus is endemic, a novel link between oxidative stress (measuring Total Antioxidant Status, Superoxide Dismutase and Glutathione Peroxidase) and EIA viral infection was established (Bolfă PF et al., 2012). The assessment of oxidative-antioxidative status in blood has also been investigated for a variety of other equine diseases and a correlation between oxidant-antioxidant imbalance and exercised induced pulmonary haemorrhage (Mills and Higgins, 1997), equine motor neuron disease (Delguste et al., 2007), recurrent airway obstruction (Deaton et al., 2006), joint disease (Dimock et al., 2000), endometritis and colic (Krumrych et al., 2013) has been identified. Such findings highlight the broader use of clinical chemistry tests in studying the pathogenesis and pathomechanisms of equine diseases.

“The increased participation of equine athletes in different sports and disciplines has resulted in a rise in the incidence of joint problems, with osteoarthritis now a common finding among performance horses.  Similar to all athletes, the equine appendicular skeleton is under extreme pressure when participating in any intense physical training or equestrian events. Although some horses may remain clinically unremarkable, such physical exertion can result in various inflammatory disorders with subsequent increased risk of injury. Analysis of total protein in joint synovial fluid using the Randox Rx series of clinical chemistry analysers plays an important role in the study of equine orthopaedics worldwide and in the identification of appropriate therapeutic tools to enhance healing. The measurement of other well established biomarkers e.g. Total Antioxidant Status, Superoxide Dismutase, Serum Amyloid A and Creatine Kinase in monitoring response to exercise, transport, trauma and stress have all been previously reported using Randox technology and the results well documented in the scientific literature.

“In addition, using our clinical chemistry analysers, the measurement of seminal plasma antioxidant activity has been demonstrated as a useful indicator of semen quality and subsequent reproductive capability in performance stallions. In a study carried out by Härtlová et al., (2013) stallions experiencing induced sport workload stress were found to have higher levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) compared to those without workload stress. A correlation between an increased level of these intracellular enzymes in seminal plasma and defects in the spermatozoa membrane has previously been established (Katila, 2001).

“Randox is also actively involved in the development of tests for the detection of performance enhancing substances in horses. Such testing protects the safety and welfare of these animals and ensures that competitions are won primarily on merit. This testing is performed not only using our innovative Biochip Array Technology but also our Rx series of clinically chemistry analysers. During prolonged strenuous exercise, racehorses can experience acidemia. In an effort to enhance racing performance “bicarbonate loading” by trainers was first identified in the early 1990s and since then some racing authorities have identified a limit of total carbon dioxide (TC02) concentration which is permissible in horses prior to competition. A comparative study carried out in Australia which examined the capability of four clinical chemistry analysers (Beckman Synchron EL-ISE®, Beckman Synchron CX®5, Beckman UniCel DxC®600, Randox DaytonaTM) to measure TC02 in equine plasma reported that the Randox Daytona offered a high degree of accuracy and precision when compared to the gold standard. Of important logistical consideration however, this study identified the Randox Daytona as the only instrument sufficiently “portable” to allow TC02 testing to be carried out not only in a laboratory but also “onsite” at a racetrack in a laboratory vehicle (Jarrett et al., 2010).

“So as you can see – for all your equine needs from general health screening, monitoring response to exercise or injury, identifying suitable therapeutics and their appropriate threshold, studying the pathogenesis and pathomechanisms of certain equine diseases and assessing reproductive fitness – the Randox Rx series offers it all.”

For more information about our work in the area of Equine Health, please contact randoxpr@randox.com

 

References

Bolfă, PF., et al. (2012) Oxidant-antioxidant imbalance in horses infected with equine infectious anaemia virus . Vet J 2012, 192: 449-454

Deaton, CM., et al (2006) Comparison of the antioxidant status in tracheal and bronchoalveolar epithelial lining fluids in recurrent airway obstruction. Equine Vet J 2006, 38: 417-422

Delguste, C et al., (2007) Change in blood antioxidant status of horses moved from a stable following diagnosis of equine motor neuron disease . Can Vet J  2007, 48: 1165-1167

Dimock, AN., et al (2000) Evidence supporting an increased presence of reactive oxygen species in the diseased equine joint. Equine Vet J 2000, 32: 439-443

Härtlová, H., et al. (2013) Semen quality, lipid peroxidation, and seminal plasma antioxidant status in horses with different intensities of physical exercise. Acta Vet Brno 2013, 82: 031–035

Jarrett, M (2010): Alternative instrumentation for the analysis of total carbon dioxide (TC02) in equine plasma. Anal Bioanal Chem 2010, 397: 717-722

Katila, T (2001): In vitro evaluation of frozen-thawed stallion semen: A review. Acta Vet Scand 2001, 42: 199-217

Krumrych, W., et al. (2013) Oxidant/antioxidant status assessment of blood in selected equine diseases. Bull Vet Inst Pulawy 2013, 57: 225-230

Mills PC and Higgins AJ (1997) Oxidant injury, nitric oxide and pulmonary vascular function: implications for the exercising horse. Vet J 1997, 153: 125-148


World Antibiotic Awareness Week at Randox

The global crisis of antimicrobial resistance is never far from the headlines. As part of World Amicrobial Awareness Week, we’ve been discussing the dangers and importantly the work being done to combat this growing threat.

There’s a very simple reason why we must all do what we can to tackle AMR. This year it’s thought 700,000 people died from drug resistant illnesses such as bacterial infections, malaria, HIV/Aids or tuberculosis. Experts warn that by 2050, this figure will rise to 10million.

Randox’s aim is to revolutionise global healthcare and we are committed to combating the threat of antibiotic resistance. We have a number of tests on the market that can help the fight against AMR, strengthen consumer confidence and ensure quality and safety for a number of different industries. So to round off this week, we spoke to two of our experts at Randox: Business Development Manager, Dr Mary Jo Kurth, and Molecular Diagnostics Manager, Dr Martin Crockard.

70% GP’s have been reported to prescribe antibiotics when they don’t know whether the infection is caused by the virus or bacteria.

At the frontline of the battle to curb AMR are the GPs but they’re not able to access the latest technology which can help them. Dr Mary Jo Kurth said, “In the current GP setting, diagnostic testing to determine whether a respiratory infection is bacterial or viral is unavailable, and therefore doctors often have to guess – or feel pressurised into prescribing antibiotics because patients demand it. However antibiotics only work to treat bacterial infections and are useless in treating infections that are caused by viruses.

 “The consequences are severe. Medical procedures like organ transplantation and cancer chemotherapy need antibiotics to prevent and treat the bacterial infections that can be caused by the treatment. Without effective antibiotics, even routine operations could become high risk procedures if serious infections can’t be treated. The hard won victories against infectious diseases of the last fifty years will be jeopardized.”

Our Biosciences division have developed a test that can rapidly detect and identify the cause of 22 respiratory infections, in both the upper and lower respiratory tract, and therefore subsequently determine if an antibiotic is required as well as then identify the most effective antibiotic to take. Additionally our Confidante kit – the world’s first over-the-counter home sexual health test – can detect ten of the most common STIs with one patient sample and deliver accurate and reliable results securely and discreetly within one week. This takes the guesswork out of antibiotic prescription and could go a long way in fighting the antibiotic resistance crisis.

Dr Martin Crockard said, “Identifying the specific cause of illnesses provides opportunities to tailor treatment, reducing antibiotic misuse. Not all infections respond to antibiotics, however a multiplex approach which identifies bacterial, viral or fungal pathogens encourages improved clinical decision-making, refining treatment, leading to enhanced patient care.

The molecular group here at Randox are developing a range of multiplex infection detection arrays to identify specific infection agents, allowing more appropriate use of antibiotics to improve patient care and reduce the onset of antibiotic resistance.”

In addition to tackling AMR via medical settings, there is work that can be done to deal with it in our food. Randox Food Diagnostics offer a comprehensive range of diagnostic solutions to allow for the detection and quantification of antibiotic residues within animal and food products. With validation across a range of matrices Randox Food allows producers to ensure their products are free from antibiotic residues.

As consumer awareness develops so does the need for antibiotic screening within agriculture and food production. Guaranteeing an antibiotic-free product strengthens consumer confidence and ensures food integrity on a global scale. Randox Food offers the Evidence Investigator matched with biochip array technology to provide the end user with fast, reliable results to ensure antibiotic free produce.

The UK Government recently commissioned a two year review into the crisis. Led by Lord Jim O’Neill, the final report outlined a new system of ‘market entry rewards’ worth $1.6 billion to the successful developer of a new antibiotic, which meets a prospectively-defined criteria of ‘unmet need’. Developers of alternative therapies aimed at tackling areas where there is unmet need due to rising AMR would also be eligible for these rewards. Such rewards would be paid after a successful product comes to market.

Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies said, “Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics. That’s why governments and organisations across the world, including the World Health Organization and G8, need to take this seriously.

“This is not just about government action. We need to encourage more innovation in the development of antibiotics – over the past two decades there has been a discovery void around antibiotics, meaning diseases have evolved faster than the drugs to treat them.”

AMR will not go away on its own. It requires complex and comprehensive action across many sectors.

If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit randox.com


ISO 22870- Are you meeting expectations?

Quality control has recently become crucial in the Point-of-Care (POC) field due to the introduction of ISO 22870 regulations and increased focus in patient safety. Quality control is critical in reducing turnaround time and saving money.

There is now an international standard specifically for POC testing, ISO 22870. This standard is intended to be used in conjunction with the standard for medical laboratories, ISO 15189. This means that aspects relating to Point-of-Care such as training, competence and documentation should be carefully planned, implemented and governed by a quality management system and there is a requirement for QC and EQA to be performed, where available.

POCT is typically carried out by non-laboratory staff, therefore when selecting the appropriate IQC material for POCT there are a number of key characteristics you must consider;

  • Format of the material – QC material employed should be liquid stable, requiring no preparation, reducing the likelihood of human error and increasing convenience.
  • Value assignment – all values must be accurately assigned. Look out for suppliers who use a large number of independent labs to determine the target value.
  • Third party controls – manufactured independently from any specific instrument or method third party controls are designed to deliver unbiased performance assessment.
  • Storage – for convenience controls should be liquid stable, as these can be easily stored in a fridge at 2oC – 8oC and won’t need to be shipped on dry ice.
  • Stability – a control with a good open vial stability will mean that it can be used for longer with less waste produced, meaning it is more convenient for the medical professional to use.
  • Transportation– the liquid stable controls can be conveniently stored at 2oC – 8oC reducing the need to ship on dry ice
  • Minimal training– easy to use with little training required, therefore suitable for use by non-laboratory personnel

In addition to IQC, External Quality Assessment (EQA) must also be employed to ensure a comprehensive review of test system performance. It is best to select a programme that offers frequent reporting with a large database of users. This will enable rapid error identification and ultimately accurate and reliable patient testing.

Our Acusera liquid ready-to-use controls include:

  1. Blood Gas ControlA liquid stable control provided in easy to open ampoules for added convenience and ease-of-use. Assayed, method specific target values are provided for the most common blood gas instruments.
  2. Liquid Cardiac ControlThis is a highly convenient liquid stable cardiac control offering excellent consistency. Assayed, instrument specific target values are provided for 8 cardiac markers, enabling flexibility and consolidation.
  3. Liquid Urinalysis ControlLiquid control that is compatible for use with both manual and automated methods of dipstick analysis. Available in convenient 12ml vials or 25ml dropper bottles with assayed ranges provided for 13 parameters covering the chemical examination of urine specimens.
  4. Liquid HbA1c ControlThis is another highly convenient liquid ready-to-use control. With an open vial stability of 30 days, keeping waste and costs to a minimum.

Complementary EQA programmes are also available to meet the needs of ISO 22870.


The UK Government is being urged to ban excessive use of antibiotics in farming

To coincide with the start of World Antibiotic Awareness Week the UK Government is being urged to ban excessive use of antibiotics in farming by a group of leading doctors, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Made up of 12 royal medical colleges, the British Medical Association and the Faculty of Public Health, the group say that the UK should “use the opportunity afforded by Brexit to lead the world in banning” preventative prescription of medicines on animals.

A decision made by the European Parliament earlier this year to ban mass agricultural medication has not yet been ratified by member states or the European Commission.

A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ spokesman told the newspaper that dealing with AMR is a “top priority” though the paper notes it ‘stopped short of promising a ban.’

In 2015 McDonalds set itself a two year deadline to stop its US restaurants buying chicken raised with human antibiotics. It led to one of the US’s leading meat producers – Tyson Foods – promising to end the practice by September 2017 – which is, as The Guardian stated, “one of the most aggressive timelines yet set by an American poultry company.” The company’s CEO Donnie Smith told the newspaper: “We have found as we have reduced the level of antibiotics we use, whether it’s human use or vet-only, our cost has actually gone down. A lot of the ways we’ve been able to accomplish this is by working with our farmers on better husbandry practices. If this millennial mum wants a no-antibiotic ever..nugget we better supply that.”

Farmers Weekly reported this month on a Danish Crown initiative launched in 2015 whereby pig farmers attach an antibiotics-free tag to piglets at the neonatal stage. It’s removed at any point if antibiotic treatment is deemed necessary. It claims that although early farm trials suggest a production fall of up to 2.5 piglet per sow per year, the “premium covers additional costs if 35% or more piglets carry the tag to the slaughterhouse.”

Pig farmer Stine Mikkelsen carried out a major review of hygiene and health on her farm to reduce antimicrobial use to boost revenue by £11.25 per pig. She says that although production is down and labour costs did increase, it “feels good” to farm in this way. She told the newspaper, “I am very motivated to do something about it – it’s a hard route to take but I have a good feeling about this system.”

Randox Food Diagnostics is working with global leaders in the food industry to tackle antibiotic resistance and safeguard their use for both human and veterinary treatment.

Using a dedicated research and development team, Randox have the ability to respond rapidly to emerging new drugs of abuse and regulations in relation to food and animal safety, with sixty-five new residue drug targets are currently in development to keep up with the ever changing market of food safety. Randox Food Diagnostics are ensuring that all residue screening laboratories requirements are met by providing reliable food safety screening on a global scale.

On top of the food safety product range Randox Food also offer a range of analysers, reagents and test kits for use throughout the winemaking process to ensure quality is maintained in every bottle.

This product range includes the RX Altona semi-automated wine analyser and the RX Monaco fully automated wine analyser.

For more information on what we do, please visit: www.randoxfood.com

 

 


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