Blood infections need to be treated fast

A faster method for diagnosing infections.


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Bloodstream infection (BSI) is one of the most devastating preventable complications in Critical Care Units. It has far-reaching consequences resulting in a prolonged length of hospital-stay, high costs to the individual and exchequer, and, in many instances, loss of life.

To cure the infections, physicians often give patients a drug cocktail in hope that one of the medications in the bunch will cure the patient. Most of the time, it fails and ended up with side effects. This also leads to an increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance.

Scientists at the Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine have created a method that uses a blood sample from patients, and in 20 minutes identifies what kind of infection they have and what antibiotic or antifungal medication they should receive.

The method images the infection and identifies it from the rest of the cells and bacteria in the blood. Once it finds the bacterium it’s looking for, it can go inside it and analyze it.

Mohamed Seleem, a professor of microbiology in Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine said, “Like each person has an individual fingerprint, each bacterium has a single fingerprint that’s specific to that infection. We created a library with the fingerprint of each infection, that way, we can quickly identify what kind of infection the patient has.”

“The mortality rate is very high because patients can die from this in a few hours,” he said. “Finding a fast, efficient diagnostic tool is in high demand. We could save a lot of lives.”

The study is originally published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.


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