Automated Multi-parameter Bioactivity Testing (MULTITEST)
The fight against new or multi-resistant pathogens is one of the major challenges of the global health system. In the case of pandemic pathogens, corresponding control strategies and new therapeutic agents must be available in the shortest possible time.
The focus is primarily on the search for anti-infective compounds against human pathogens, ideally with resistance-breaking properties. Here it has been shown that the determination of the spectrum of activity represents a bottleneck in the development of natural products.
This bottleneck can only be widened by automated bioactivity testing. In addition, in future the search must increasingly go in the direction of new combinations of active compounds, since many natural products only develop their full potential of action in combination. However, these synergy effects are not taken into account in conventional active compound screens, so that the innovative approach pursued here has significantly higher chances of identifying new active substances and active compound combinations.
The extensive testing with regard to bioactivity, phenotypic screening and synergistic drug combinations requires automated procedures that are orders of magnitude superior to conventional manual methods in terms of precision and throughput. The ideal combination of a powerful platereader equipped with a confocal microscope and a dispenser allow high-throughput cell assays to be performed. The automation of many established laboratory procedures to search for anti-infective compounds is strongly implied in the future.