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Subspecialties Microbiology and immunology, Point of care testing, Technology and innovation

Rapid Detection of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Where would we be without antibiotics? They are a pinnacle of modern medicine – but overprescription and overuse have left the door open for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With bacterial infections still one of the world’s biggest health problems, we need a solution – and fast.

Slow turnaround times for identifying these bacteria is just one barrier to that solution, with standard methods taking up to two days – increasing hospital stays, mortality rate, and cost of care. With this in mind, researchers at Binghamton University built a prototype diagnostic device that combines papertronics with biology based on the principle of bacterial electron transfer (1). Their technique eliminates the need to monitor bacterial growth, yielding a turnaround time of only five hours. As a point-of-care diagnostic tool, the device could reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions, especially in resource-limited areas – closing the door on antimicrobial resistance.

Device for testing of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Credit: Seokheun "Sean" Choi.
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  1. Y Gao et al., Biosens Bioelectron, 168, 112518 (2020). PMID: 32862095.
About the Author
Liv Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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