New scientist profile: Dr. Derek MacFadden helps prescribers fight antibiotic resistance

June 26, 2019

Dr. Derek MacFaddenNinety percent of antibiotics are prescribed outside of hospitals, and a third are unnecessary. Dr. Derek MacFadden’s research aims to help prescribers choose the right antibiotic for the bacteria they’re fighting instead of using broad-spectrum antibiotics that kill many kinds of bacteria. Confirming which bacteria are causing an infection takes days, so prescribers usually make educated guesses and select broad antibiotics to quickly relieve a patient’s symptoms. Dr. MacFadden is developing genomic tools to speed up bacterial identification so prescribers can choose more targeted antibiotics. He’s also working with colleagues in the U.S. and Israel to implement a digital platform that provides guidelines and feedback on antibiotic prescribing for family doctors and community clinics.

Dr. MacFadden was recently appointed as a scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

“I’m interested in why we use antibiotics, and whether we can change how we use them to help prevent antibiotic resistance.” he said. 

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