New blood test may help prevent antibiotic resistance
Israeli researchers have been trialling a new blood test that can help in quickly determining whether infections are bacterial or viral.
Often when patients present with serious infections, doctors cannot tell quickly whether the infection is caused by a bacteria or a virus. Because antibiotics are so necessary for fighting bacterial infections, in serious cases doctors start antibiotics treatment immediately, before the determination of cause is made.
This means that where the infection was caused by a virus, the patient receives antibiotics that are of no use. Repeated use of antibiotics can cause resistance to antibiotics placing patients at greater risk from bacterial “superbugs” in the future.
The new testing method developed by Israeli company MeMed, shows promise to be able to determine infection cause within just a couple of hours, compared to several days with current testing procedures.
Tests sponsored by Memed, using the new methods, have been reported to show a clear determination of infection cause. Further independent testing will be necessary before this method is accepted into mainstream treatment regimes.
If the methods pass all of the required research and testing, this could help tackle the global problem of over prescription of antibiotics, and help reduce the problem of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.