SAN DIEGO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have developed a speedy method to determine whether bacteria are susceptible to antibiotics, potentially slowing the emergence of drug resistance among patients, a new report said.
In a study reportedly published this week in the journal EBioMedicine -- the latest issue of which is yet to be uploaded online -- the team of biologists and biomedical researchers say the test, which seeks out the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, can determine an outcome within hours.
The rapid test can reportedly help medical professionals determine whether bacteria strains found in those infected are either resistant or sensitive to traditional antibiotics. Because infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, widely known as staph infection, can spread rapidly throughout communities, the new test can significantly cut down the time required to discover which antibiotics to use.
"Previously we developed a microscopy-based method that performs an autopsy on bacterial cells that allows us to determine how each cell died, asn we have show that this method can identify new antibiotics and help understand hose these antibiotics work," Kit Pogliano, the team's leader, said.
"We tested to see if this method could be applied to antibiotic susceptibility testing. Surprisingly, we not only found that our method was able to accurately differentiate sensitive S. aureus strains from resistant [methicillin-resistant S. aureus] strains, but that we were able to identify two subgroups of MRSA strains, one of which is susceptible to combinations of antibiotics that could be used in the hospital."
"We are excited by the accuracy and speed of this test," Pogliano continued," as well as by its unanticipated ability to identify these two types of MRSA infections ,which would have been missed by other tests."
The team of researchers from UC San Diego consisted of infections disease specialists Dr. Victor Nizet and Dr. George Sakoulas, biologists Kit Pogliano and Joe Pogliano, and graduate student Diana Quach.
The new method is in the process of being commercialized by Linnaeus Bioscience Inc. in order to be used clinically through the industrial market.