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Basel alliance seeks to combat antibiotic resistance

The SPEARHEAD alliance has been founded in Basel with the aim of combating the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance. By 2050, this will cause around four times as many deaths as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The alliance is seeking to create a globally scalable digital platform for the use of antibiotics.

The Spearhead alliance will seek to combat the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance.
The Spearhead alliance will seek to combat the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance. Generic Image: Pixnio/CC0

A new alliance will seek to combat the silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) using digital measures. It has now been founded in Basel with the support of Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, and is known as the Swiss Pandemic & AMR – Health Economy Awareness Detect (SPEARHEAD).  The consortium includes eight institutional and four private partners, most of whom are based in the Basel Area: the University of Basel, the University Children’s Hospital Basel (UKBB), Novartis, Resistell AG and Waat Switzerland GmbH.

Moreover, the Institute for Design at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA) at SUPSI, two of Switzerland’s five university hospitals and the reinsurance firm Swiss Re also form part of the SPEARHEAD alliance. As detailed in a joint press release, the partners intend to play their part in a rapid digital pandemic fight by calling on their expertise in relation to COVID-19 and AMR. After all, AMR is expected to cause around 10 million deaths in the year 2050, which would represent a fourfold increase on the death level attributable to the coronavirus pandemic year 2020. As part of this, Basel will be positioned as an important location in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

The project will seek to develop a digital platform that has five main goals: establishing the flow of data to and from decision-makers in real time, making better use of Big Data for risk stratification and enabling real-time diagnostics to render centralized laboratory infrastructure superfluous. In addition, the population and municipalities should be more involved, while finally, the financial impact of the innovations presented should also be taken into account at an early stage

SPEARHEAD is the first cooperation within the framework of the Bio-Campus, a strategic tri-national (Switzerland, France and Germany) initiative established by the University of Basel. Its vision is focused on innovatively shaping the global future of healthcare and wellbeing together with partners from the worlds of science, industry and civil society in addition to start-ups.

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