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New Blood Test Could End Our Unsustainable Antibiotic Culture

24/03/2015

New Blood Test Could End Our Unsustainable Antibiotic CultureID-10044134When it comes to deciphering which bug is responsible for an infection, doctors have historically faced many challenges. While routine tests are available, they can sometimes take days to definitively identify the exact bug and usually involve growing cultures in a laboratory.

But now, a new blood test has been developed that can determine whether an infection is being caused by bacteria or a virus and the results are available within two hours.

Despite still being at a laboratory stage, the potential of the new test has got independent experts excited and if it comes to fruition, it could help tackle a very serious problem: the over-reliance on antibiotics.

MeMed worked in collaboration with several teams of scientists from Israel to develop the test and it proved successful - i.e. it correctly identified the cause of an infection – in the majority of some 300 tests cases.

The new test works by recognising the protein patterns triggered by viruses and bacteria, but isn’t being seen as a replacement for the traditional role of a physician and their judgement.

Virus expert Professor Jonathan Ball from Nottingham University said: "The work addresses a really serious problem. Being able to identify a possible infection early on and then to be able to differentiate between a possible viral or bacterial cause, is important.”
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