Infectious Disease Detective
A blood test to quickly decide if a viral or bacterial infection is the culprit causing disease could aid the quest to cut down on antibiotic misuse.
Kfir Oved, Eran Eden |
At a Glance
- Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem which has many experts worried, with a variety of possible solutions being put forward
- Identifying which patients have a bacterial infection and which have a virus using a blood test could help physicians make informed decisions on treatment
- An ELISA-based test that computationally integrates the measurements of several circulating host-proteins showed high accuracy in clinical studies and is being piloted n several hospitals
- A point-of-care platform and further clinical studies are planned to expand application to make it more accessible
The worrying problem of antibiotic resistance is frequently in the news, with global health forecasts over the last few years looking decidedly gloomy. Today, such predictions are becoming reality, and in some cases the situation is even worse than what was foreseen – the World Health Organization has named antimicrobial resistance a major threat to public health. A key factor in the rising resistance rates is antibiotic misuse. However, it must be acknowledged that misuse is not simply due to irresponsible prescribing, and is often driven by the difficulty in ascertaining the cause of the disease – bacteria or virus – especially in the early stages. The symptoms of many illnesses are similar, and lab tests such as C-reactive protein (CRP) or white blood cell count just aren’t accurate enough to tell apart bacterial and viral infections.
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