Test To Rapidly Diagnose Bloodstream Infection Developed

Test To Rapidly Diagnose Bloodstream Infection Developed
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A new bloodstream infection test can speed up diagnosis times with unprecedented accuracy, allowing physicians to treat patients with potentially deadly ailments more promptly and effectively. The team developed a new technology called Integrated Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection (IC 3D). In as little as 90 minutes, IC 3D can detect bacteria in milliliters of blood with single-cell sensitivity; no cell culture is needed. The work appears online today in Nature Communications.
 
Bloodstream infections are a major cause of illness and death. In particular, infections associated with antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are a growing health problem in the U.S. and worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 2 million people a year globally get antibiotic-resistant blood infections, with about 23,000 deaths. The extremely high mortality rate for blood infections is due, in part, to the inability to rapidly diagnose and treat patients in the early stages.
 
Recent molecular diagnosis methods, including polymerase chain reaction, can reduce the assay time to hours but are often not sensitive enough to detect bacteria that occur at low concentrations in blood, as is common in patients with blood infections.
 
The IC 3D technology differs from other diagnostic techniques in that it converts blood samples directly into billions of very small droplets. Fluorescent DNA sensor solution infused into the droplets detects those with bacterial markers, lighting them up with an intense fluorescent signal. The researchers said that separating the samples into so many small drops minimizes the interference of other components in blood, making it possible to directly detect target bacteria without the purification typically required in conventional assays.
 
To identify bacteria-containing droplets among billions of others in a timely fashion, the team incorporated a three-dimensional particle counter that tags fluorescent particles within several minutes.
 
As a platform technology, it may have many applications in detecting extremely low-abundance biomarkers in other areas, such as cancers, HIV and, most notably, Ebola.