The Mini-Lab project team is pleased to announce the partnership between MSF and the Boston-based WHO Collaborating Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance, developers of the well-known WHONET microbiology data management and analysis system for antibiotic susceptibility testing. In order to integrate into our Mini-LIMS (the Mini-Lab specific laboratory information management system) the unique ability of WHONET to interpret the Mini-Lab's zone inhibition diameters or minimum inhibition concentration values of AST plates into understandable clinical categories. Thus the full complexity of drug-organ interpretation specifics and expert rules are available with over 30 years of expertise in this field.
To do this, MSF and the WHONET team partnered to develop a table-based approach for breakpoints, organism lists, expert and intrinsic resistance rules, etc., originally available in WHONET, to facilitate the transfer of this state-of-the-art test interpretation engine into our Mini-LIMS. Through this collaboration, we realized that this work could benefit other LIMS developers interested in the field of antibiotic resistance surveillance for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the short term. In the long term, we believe that an international collaborative effort could benefit from this initial work to build a sustainable maintenance and support strategy. Therefore, the MSF and WHONET teams are now seeking to make this table-based approach to antimicrobial susceptibility testing interpretation available to all that could be maintained by a community of volunteer experts worldwide and freely available to LMIC laboratory staff.