Business, diagnostics  

3M Health Care launches diagnostics unit for rapid detection of infection

28 March 2007

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. 3M Health Care has created a new Medical Diagnostics business unit to develop and commercialize rapid diagnostic products for detecting key infectious pathogens such as MRSA and other treatment-resistant microbes.

This new business will offer hospitals new rapid diagnostic tests to detect the presence of potentially destructive microbes before they spread and possibly infect patients.

"3M Medical Diagnostics is a natural extension of our infection prevention platform and enables us to offer hospitals a full spectrum of products that detect, prevent and treat infections in the hospital setting," said Dr Angela Dillow, Global Business Manager, 3M Medical Diagnostics. "We see many market trends pointing to the need for rapid, easy-to-use microbial diagnostics that will aid in the prevention and control of infections in hospitals in the U.S. and abroad."


In the US, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that approximately 90,000 deaths annually are attributable to hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections.(1) New guidelines were issued by the CDC in October 2006 outlining strategies to prevent the spread of drug-resistant infections in healthcare settings. The screening of patients at high risk for carrying drug-resistant bacteria was recommended for healthcare facilities that do not improve their healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) rates.

In the US, current infection prevention patient screening activities include no screening at all, traditional cultures, which provide results in 48 hours, or expensive molecular diagnostics. 3M plans to introduce new rapid diagnostic products that will simplify the diagnostic testing process and provide more rapid results than traditional microbiology tests for the detection of key microbes such as Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA and Influenza A and B.

HCAIs remain a persistent challenge for hospitals worldwide. A prevalence survey conducted under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 55 hospitals of 14 countries representing 4 WHO Regions (Europe, Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Western Pacific) showed an average of 8.7 percent of hospital patients had nosocomial infections. At any time, over 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infectious complications acquired in hospitals.(2)

1. AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control. 33(4):217-226, May 2005.

2. Prevention of hospital-acquired infections: a practical guide.  WHO/CDS/CSR/EPH/2002.12.

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