New streams of bacteria are continually evolving and getting antibiotic resistant, making it difficult to create a disease management system that can decrease morbidity and mortality, especially in the case of bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA) which are the most common cause for infective echocarditis (IE – inflammation of inner tissues of the heart).
Considering this scenario diagnosing infections quickly play a key role in delivering efficient target therapy to combat these highly resistant streams of bacteria. Doctors usually make decisions in clinics within a window period of ten minutes and having diagnostic test results within this window allows in better disease management and alleviates the need of traditional empirical therapy.
Dustin K Harshman, biomedical engineer at the University of Arizona along with his team of engineers and scientists have developed a new medical device that can diagnose infections in as short as 3.5 minutes. The new diagnostic device called as DOTS qPCR (droplet-on-thermocouple silhouette real-time PCR) is faster and cheaper as compared to the current tests that are used to diagnose.
The current method that is used to diagnose is the polymerase chain reaction or qPCR technique that involves amplification of DNA that enables the physician to recognize the type of pathogen causing the infection. This test typically takes about one hour thereby not allowing the doctor to make informed decision within their decision-making window of ten minutes.
DOTS qPCR not only provides diagnosis in way shorter time but also does not require contamination-free samples, informed Prof. Jeong-Yeol Yoon, another team member who invented this device. This again can save money and time used to prepare samples before they are tested. Yoon further added that the device can be integrated with smart phones and brings with it a lot of commercial potential. They are looking forward to work with the industry to bring this device to the market.
Harshman and the team are working towards creating a device that will provide results to doctors as soon as they perform a biopsy. “By saving diagnosis time, we can decrease complications for patients, isolate infections to prevent spreading, and avoid creating selective pressure for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a huge burden on the medical system. “Said Harshman.
The study was published in the journal Science Advances and story source is from materials provided by University of Arizona.