Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Good news on the anti-bug front

Posted by Charles II on October 10, 2013

This news is a little old, but I hadn’t heard it. David Heitz, Healthline:

A blood test developed by researchers at Duke University can predict with tremendous accuracy whether someone with, say, pneumonia has a viral or bacterial infection, even if it’s a previously unknown strain.

The test, described today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, could someday help stop the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to patients who have viral infections.

In the most recent experiment, 102 subjects with viral and bacterial infections, as well as healthy control patients, arrived at a hospital emergency room and were given the blood test. With about 90 percent accuracy, the test returned the proper diagnosis in just 12 hours.

In larger studies set to begin as early as this flu season, scientists will look at ways of paring down the number of genes the test analyzes and reducing the test’s turnaround time to as little as one hour.

2 Responses to “Good news on the anti-bug front”

  1. Nice. The quicker we can ID them, the quicker we can fine cures for them.

    • Stormcrow said

      This isn’t even close to a species- or even genus-specific ID. It’s just a binary test between two very different forms of life.

      However, if this test can be used in normal outpatient situations, it will be of direct benefit. I speak from direct personal experience.

      When I was living in Arizona and Mississippi, I came down with respiratory infections multiple times per year. The usual treatment was antibiotics. And neither my physicians nor I had any real idea whether there was any real point in this; we had no idea whether the infection was viral or bacterial.

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