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New And Faster Test For Detecting Sepsis-Causing Bacteria

An article published online first and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet reports that identification of sepsis-causing bacteria using a new microarray platform is highly accurate and delivers results an average of eighteen hours faster than the current gold-standard system. It uses techniques based on detecting inhibition of growth of bacteria through antibiotics. Microarray platform is a series of microscopic spots of short DNA fragments whose sequences are specific for individual organisms. The article is the work of Dr Vanya Gant, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University College London Windeyer Institute, London, UK, and Dr Päivi Tissari, in Helsinki University Central Hospital Laboratory HUSLAB, Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues.

The rapid detection of bacteria commonly causing sepsis could allow species-specific therapy to be started early. This would lead to improved clinical outcomes. Blood culture is the current gold standard for identification of bacteria from patients with sepsis. It typically takes one to three days to become positive. An additional one to two days might be required for identification of bacteria and their antibiotic sensitivity patterns. In order to cut this extra one to two day period, new diagnostic tests that can identify bacterial species rapidly and accurately are needed.

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