LONDON: In a
first, scientists have developed a new test that can quickly determine whether
infection- causing bacteria are resistant to antibiotics.
The test, developed by researchers at the Uppsala
University in Sweden, can help doctors make
an informed choice while prescribing antibiotics.
It is primarily intended for urinary tract infections - a condition that
affects about 100 million women a year globally and accounts for 25 per cent of
antibiotic use in Sweden.
Monitoring whether individual bacteria grow in the presence of antibiotics (ie
are resistant) reveals their resistance or susceptibility within a few minutes,
"We have developed a new method that allows determination of bacterial
resistance patterns in urinary tract infections in 10 to 30 minutes," said Ozden Baltekin,
from Uppsala University.
"By comparison, the resistance determination currently in use requires one
to two days. The rapid test is based on a new plastic microfluidic chip where
the bacteria are trapped and methods for analysing bacterial growth at
single-cell level," Baltekin added.
It is great that the research methods we developed to address fundamental
questions in molecular biology are useful for such a tremendously important
medical application, researchers said.
"We believe the method is usable for other types of infection, such as
blood infections where prompt, correct choice of antibiotic is critical to the
patient," said Dan Andersson from
Antibiotic resistance is a growing medical problem that threatens human health
globally. One important contributory factor in the development of resistance is
the incorrect use of antibiotics for treatment.
Researchers therefore seek reliable methods to quickly and easily identify
bacterial resistance patterns, known as antibiotic susceptibility testing
(AST), and provide early treatment, ie right from the doctor's appointment.
This has been inhibited by the current time-consuming antibiotic resistance