Rapid Detection Method Tests for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Test can determine antibiotic susceptibility of urinary tract infections within 30 minutes.

Antibiotic resistance has been spreading throughout the world for various reasons, including the overuse and misuse of the drugs. The bacterium presents a difficult situation for healthcare providers and clinics, as there are limited treatment options and can spread through facilities. The search for more effective approaches against drug-resistant bacteria is ongoing.

Researchers recently developed a novel method to rapidly determine if bacteria are susceptible or resistant to antibiotics, according to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Methods that quickly identify bacterial resistance patterns and provide proper treatment are a solution to the problem, according to the authors. Thus far, this has not been accomplished since current methods take too long to receive results. For these reasons, patients may either not start treatment promptly or start treatment with the wrong antibiotic.

For the first time, investigators have created a rapid test that will allow patients to receive the proper antibiotic after their first appointment. The test is primarily intended to identify antibiotic susceptibility of urinary tract infections, according to the study. This infection impacts more than 100 million women each year and accounts for a significant portion of antibiotic prescriptions.

“We’ve developed a new method that allows determination of bacterial resistance patterns in urinary tract infections in 10 to 30 minutes,” said researcher Özden Baltekin. “By comparison, the resistance determination currently in use requires 1 to 2 days. The rapid test is based on a new plastic microfluidic chip where the bacteria are trapped and methods for analysing [sic] bacterial growth at single-cell level.”

The method includes optical and analytical techniques that study the bacteria’s behavior. The authors report that monitoring will show whether bacteria grows or not, which indicates its susceptibility to antibiotics within minutes, according to the study.

“It’s great that the research methods we developed to address fundamental questions in molecular biology can come in useful for such a tremendously important medical application,” said researcher Johan Elf, PhD.

The detection method is currently being developed into a user-friendly test for clinical use. The authors report that the company manufacturing the test expects to have an automated antibiotic susceptibility test for urinary tract infections within the next few years, according to the study.

“The hope is that, in future, the method could be used in hospitals and health centres [sic] to quickly provide correct treatment and reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics,” said researcher Dan Andersson, PhD. “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.”