Tiny Test Tubes to Tackle Antimicrobial Resistance in Dairy Farming in India

Abstract

Vision

Our long-term goal is to tackle the challenge of rising AMR levels that leads to reduced milk production through hard-to-treat mastitis in dairy cattle (cutting family income), and untreatable human infections. Although India is the world's largest milk producing nation, most dairy farms are not industrialised- instead thousands of small farms provide milk locally. Family income is dependent on healthy cows and buffalo, yet bacterial infection (mastitis) is becoming harder to treat as widespread antibiotic use drives high AMR levels. We will support this vulnerable population of rural farmers by designing simple AMR testing products that can be used outside central labs. AMR spreads rapidly and drug-resistant bacteria not only harms animals and limits productivity but also presents a major human health threat, especially in India where families live in close proximity to dairy cattle.

Without monitoring and accurate data, it is impossible to control AMR, but AMR is difficult and expensive to measure. Current tests are slow (\>2 days) and laborious and can only be performed in microbiology laboratories limiting the number of samples. CFT has developed a simple, miniature version of standard tests which not only simplifies lab testing, but allows testing outside centralised labs. Results are recorded by smartphone camera and test devices can be mass-produced at low cost (CFT already manufactures <£0.50/test) allowing large-scale deployment to new and emerging markets such as India. Mastitis costs farmers £10 per infected cow through treatment and lost productivity. This technology can help tackle AMR in dairy farming in India.

Feasibility study

This phase 1 study aims to design specific products to help tackle AMR in dairy farming in India. Working with Indian partners we will optimise a product with maximum potential to benefit the most vulnerable people affected by drug-resistant mastitis.

Envisaged impacts in India

Cost-effective monitoring of AMR is essential, locally to permit selection of effective antibiotics, and nationally to support government networks. Family farms will avoid economic losses from poorly treated mastitis, and our innovation also aligns with the Indian Government's recently published National Action Plan for Dairy Development. Increased productivity will allow some farmers to access expanding urban markets and a pathway to export; but export requires more stringent AMR monitoring and antibiotic control. Public health will benefit from AMR surveillance by lowering risk of drug-resistant human infections. CFT will partner with Indian biotechnology industry to co-develop products, driving job creation and expanding innovation capacity.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Capillary Film Technology Ltd, Billingshurst £17,490 £ 12,243
 

Participant

Design Science Limited, London £43,994 £ 30,794
University of Reading, United Kingdom £11,647 £ 11,647
National Institute of Animal Biotechnology £4,500 £ 4,500

Publications

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