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Antibiotic Resistance Detection Is Essential For Gonorrhoea Point-Of-Care Testing: A Mathematical Modelling Study
Antibiotic resistance is threatening to make gonorrhoea untreatable. Point-of-care (POC) tests that detect resistance promise individually tailored treatment, but might lead to more treatment and higher levels of resistance. We investigate the impact of POC tests on antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea. We used data about the prevalence and incidence of gonorrhoea in men who have sex with men (MSM) and heterosexual men and women (HMW) to calibrate a mathematical gonorrhoea transmission model. With this model, we simulated four clinical pathways for the diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhoea: POC test with (POC + R) and without (POC − R) resistance detection, culture, and nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). We calculated the proportion of resistant infections, cases averted after 5 years, and compared how fast resistant infections spread in the populations. The proportion of resistant infections after 30 years is lowest for POC + R (median MSM: 0.18%, HMW: 0.12%), and increases for culture (MSM: 1.19%, HWM: 0.13%), NAAT (MSM: 100%, HMW: 99.27%), and POC − R (MSM: 100%, HMW: 99.73%). NAAT leads to 36,366 (median MSM) and 1228 (median HMW) observed cases after 5 years. When compared with NAAT, POC + R results in most cases averted after 5 years (median MSM: 3353, HMW: 118 per 100,000 persons). POC tests that detect resistance with intermediate sensitivity slow down resistance spread more than NAAT. POC tests with very high sensitivity for the detection of resistance are needed to slow down resistance spread more than using culture. POC with high sensitivity to detect antibiotic resistance can keep gonorrhoea treatable longer than culture or NAAT. POC tests without reliable resistance detection should not be introduced because they can accelerate the spread of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea.
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