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Hong Kong to make use of AI in opposition to superbugs and antibiotic overprescription



Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority is planning to sort out a noteworthy rise of two superbugs — vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Candida auris — with the assistance of synthetic intelligence (AI). 

According to a Nov. 24 South China Morning Put up report citing the authority, the rise within the prevalence of multidrug-resistant organisms, or superbugs, on the island occurred as a result of a redistribution of sources aimed toward combating the COVID-19 pandemic over the previous three years. Dr. Raymond Lai, the authority’s chief an infection management officer, advised journalists:

“A big variety of isolation wards have been allotted to Covid-19 sufferers, leaving fewer wards obtainable for these contaminated with MDROs.”

The COVID-19 pandemic additionally considerably elevated broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions, resulting in antibiotic resistance growth throughout the superbugs. In response to the authority, the antibiotic resistance charge of vancomycin-resistant enterococci rose from 0.22% in 2021 to 1.2% in 2023. Sufferers carrying these microorganisms elevated from fewer than 40 in 2021 to round 140 by late September 2023. 

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Found in Hong Kong in 2019, there was a rise in Candida auris carriers, leaping from almost 200 in 2020 to greater than 300 by Oct. 31, 2023. Lai cautions that roughly 10% of people harboring this fungus might progress to invasive infections, presenting a mortality threat starting from 53% to 83.3%.

To fight the issue, in January 2024, the Hospital Authority will launch an AI pilot on the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin and Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung. The AI will analyze scientific knowledge to find out the need of prescribing antibiotics. It’s going to begin from a single standard kind of antibiotic after which increase to eight different varieties and 17 public hospitals.

This isn’t the primary time AI has been used to fight the issue of antibiotic resistance. In Might 2023, AI helped Massachusetts Institute of Know-how and McMaster College researchers determine a brand new antibiotic that might kill a micro organism answerable for many drug-resistant infections, Acinetobacter baumannii.

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