A new blood test to find whether a respiratory illness is caused due to infection from a virus or bacteria is underway. This test can help doctors to prescribe appropriate antibiotics.
Duke University researchers have discovered gene signatures, patterns that can reflect whether the patient’s genes are turned on or off to know whether the infection is due to bacteria and virus. A sample of patient’s blood can derive the results.
The signatures were 87 percent accurate in over 300 patients with flu, viruses, rhinovirus, and other bacteria and infections and shows when there is no infection.
Researchers will soon develop a blood test that can be used in clinics to differentiate bacterial and viral infections.
Experts opined that a respiratory infection is one of the reasons for people to consult a doctor. Diagnosis requires a lot of information but there is no effective and accurate way to decide of the infection is bacterial or viral. Around three-fourths of patients end up using antibiotics to treat bacterial infections inspite the fact that majority have viral infections. Many risks are associated with excess antibiotic usage.
Researchers said that the technique is accurate than other tests that can figure out microbes. Identifying infections could not only reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics but can also result in effective treatment of viruses.