Blood Test to Determine Use of Antibiotics
A new test from researchers at Duke University School of Medicine can help diagnosis and treatment of infections by distinguishing between a viral vs bacterial infection. This is big news that could aid in solving the global threat of bacterial resistance through overuse of antibiotics.
Current tests require information about the pathogen in question in order to confirm infection. This newly developed test can be used on any infection of a known or unknown pathogen.
A person’s immune system responds differently when infected by a virus than when fighting a bacterial infection. The difference occurs at a genetic level, where specific genes are turned on during a viral attack. This, say researchers, creates a distinct genetic fingerprint that can be used to identify a virus. The most current study tested 102 patients with fever and varying infections. The test provided true positive identification of a virus in 89% of cases and a true negative identification, bacterial or neither, 94% of the time.
This test would be an invaluable tool to help correctly identify viral infections and decrease the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, hopefully resulting in a decline in development of resistant pathogens.