New test detects staph quickly

Jan. 13, 2012 at 9:57 PM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers have developed a laboratory test they say can rapidly identify the bacterium responsible for staph infections.

Facundo Fernandez, an associate professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the test takes advantage of unique isotopic labeling combined with specific bacteriophage -- virus that infects bacteria -- amplification to rapidly identify Staphylococcus aureus.

Detecting infections caused by S. aureus quickly is critical because the bacterium causes a broad spectrum of infections -- ranging from acute to chronic disease -- that need to be treated in a prompt manner with the correct antibiotic.

The test uses mass spectrometry, analytical technique that measures charged particles, to quantify the number of S. aureus organisms in a large number of samples in just a few hours -- compared to a day or two for culturing techniques typically used to detect this bacterium -- Fernandez said.

The findings were published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomic.

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