Thermo Fisher Scientific and Q-linea have launched the ASTar System—a rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing (rAST) system that provides true minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) results in ≈ 6 hours. Conventional AST methods can take up to 72 hours to yield a result.

“When we say rapid, we mean it. With approximately six hours to result, the ASTar System can process up to 12 samples in parallel for the patients who need it most. Equipped with a panel design containing the broadest combination of antimicrobials and dilution ranges in a single test for Gram-negative bacteria*, laboratories can deliver truly targeted therapy, with only two minutes of hands-on time,” says Romain Lecomte, senior director, clinical product marketing, Thermo Fisher Scientific microbiology.

The fully automated, easy-to-use rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing ASTar System utilizes advanced imaging techniques and algorithms to monitor bacterial growth, removing the need for subculture, which alone can take an additional one to two days. The system is based on the ISO 20776-1 AST frozen broth microdilution methods, and as such it produces the all-important MIC results physicians can use to deliver more personalized antibiotic treatment to the critically ill. 

The reduction in time-to-result with rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing may be a factor in reducing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as clinicians often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics while awaiting laboratory guidance on more targeted therapy. This practice is believed to contribute to the emerging pandemic of AMR1, which threatens to claim 10 million lives a year by 20502. Reducing AMR could be expected to reduce mortality rates by around 40%3, and could also support a decrease in healthcare costs by reducing hospital stay and delivering per-patient cost savings of between $2,500 and $20,0004.

“We believe the ASTar System represents a turning point in the pursuit for more accurate, reliable and rapid AST. It uses gold standard-equivalent techniques to deliver actionable results in approximately six hours and provides physicians with the true MIC information they can use to guide personalized treatment options,” says Jonas Jarvius, CEO of Q-linea.

The ASTar System, developed by Q-linea and distributed by Thermo Fisher:

  • Delivers fast, accurate results in ≈ 6 hours direct from positive blood cultures. 
  • Fully automated load-and-go system that requires just two minutes of hands-on time per sample. 
  • Comprehensive AST panel with a format design containing 23 antimicrobials, covering 235 dilutions.

The rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing ASTar System is now commercially available from Thermo Fisher Scientific in Europe, with plans for launch in other regions to follow pending relevant regulatory approvals.

*Based on commercially available systems market overview undertaken by Q-linea – May 2021

Product is CE marked but not 510(k)-cleared and not available for sale in the U.S. Availability of product in each country depends on local regulatory marketing authorization status. 

Q-linea AB is the legal manufacturer of ASTar. ASTar is a trademark of Q-linea AB. All other trademarks are the property of Thermo Fisher Scientific and its subsidiaries. The ASTar System is distributed globally by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Featured Image: Thermo Fisher Scientific and Q-linea launch the ASTar System—a rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing (rAST) system. Photo: Thermo Fisher Scientific