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Bacteria evade detection net

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Slothful response from regulators and manufacturers means antibiotic resistance is missed. Bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics are dreaded by physicians and patients alike. Finding such microbes in a hospital is bad enough, but failing to detect them can lead to something much worse: an outbreak.

That is why patients with bacterial infections are typically screened using automated lab tests that uncover the pathogen’s identity and its susceptibility to various antibiotics. Because mechanisms of antibiotic resistance can pass rapidly between bacteria, especially in hospitals, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) periodically updates the rules for the machines used to perform these tests.

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