Search for signal molecules that confirm antibiotic prescription necessity

Identification of biomarkers that differentiate between viral and bacterial respiratory infections.

Levels Diagnostics is a start-up company focused on the discovery of novel protein biomarkers. After a successful pilot study in collaboration with the LUMC, a technology was demonstrated and Acutelines, the data-and biobank of the emergency department of the UMCG, was an ideal partner for further research due to the expertise in biomarker discovery and the quality of the Acutelines biobank.

In 2019, 1,27 million people died of an infection by an antibiotic resistant bacterium. This makes antibiotic resistance as deadly as malaria and HIV.

This increase in the number of death due to antibiotic resistance stems from the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. If we want to fight of bacteria, we need to limit our usage of antibiotics and guide the prescription of these medications with care.

In this project, the latest technologies that can identify a large number of proteins and RNA sequences will be used to screen blood of patient samples collected by the Acutelines biobank at the emergency department of the UMCG, to identify biomarkers that are upregulated in a bacterial infection (when compared to a viral infection). These markers can then easily identify patients with a bacterial infection that need antibiotics and identify patients that will not benefit from antibiotics.

The deliverables of this project are a set of candidate biomarkers. These candidates will in further research be used to build an assay that can easily and affordably be measured. Before this can be applied to guide antibiotic treatment, a study with a larger number of patients is required.

Using data and materials obtained by the Acutelines biobank, this project will search for signal molecules in blood by exploring proteins and RNA (instructions for proteins) found in two patient groups, one with viral infection (like the flu or COVID) and one with bacterial infection (like pneumonia).
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
2 - 4
Time period
12 months