The Detection of Vancomycin in Sweat: A Next-Generation Digital Surrogate Marker for Antibiotic Tissue Penetration: A Pilot Study

Digit Biomark. 2021 Jan 14;5(1):24-28. doi: 10.1159/000512947. eCollection 2021 Jan-Apr.


BACKGROUND: Assuring adequate antibiotic tissue concentrations at the point of infection, especially in skin and soft tissue infections, is pivotal for an effective treatment and cure. Despite the global issue, a reliable AB monitoring test is missing. Inadequate antibiotic treatment leads to the development of antimicrobial resistances and toxic side effects. β-lactam antibiotics were already detected in sweat of patients treated with the respective antibiotics intravenously before. With the emergence of smartphone-based biosensors to analyse sweat on the spot of need, next-generation molecular digital biomarkers will be increasingly available for a non-invasive pharmacotherapy monitoring.

OBJECTIVE: Here, we investigated if the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin is detectable in sweat samples of in-patients treated with intravenous vancomycin.

METHODS: Eccrine sweat samples were collected using the Macroduct Sweat Collector®. Along every sweat sample, a blood sample was taken. Bio-fluid analysis was performed by Ultra-high Pressure Liquid Chromatograph-Tandem Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry coupled with tandem mass spectrometry.

RESULTS: A total of 5 patients were included. Results demonstrate that vancomycin was detected in 5 out of 5 sweat samples. Specifically, vancomycin concentrations ranged from 0.011 to 0.118 mg/L in sweat and from 4.7 to 8.5 mg/L in blood.

CONCLUSION: Our results serve as proof-of-concept that vancomycin is detectable in eccrine sweat and may serve as a surrogate marker for antibiotic tissue penetration. A targeted vancomycin treatment is crucial in patients with repetitive need for antibiotics and a variable antibiotic distribution such as in peripheral artery disease to optimize treatment effectiveness. If combined with on-skin smartphone-based biosensors and smartphone applications, the detection of antibiotic concentrations in sweat might enable a first digital, on-spot, lab-independent and non-invasive therapeutic drug monitoring in skin and soft tissue infections.

PMID:33615119 | PMC:PMC7879282 | DOI:10.1159/000512947