Deborah Hung, a core faculty member of the Broad Institute, an infectious disease physician, a bacterial geneticist and chemical biologist, sees faster diagnosis and identification of resistance as a critical need and a solvable problem. “There’s no excuse for our not solving this,” said Hung, who is also the co-director of the Broad Institute’s Infectious Disease Program and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. “It sounds so obvious: the correct antibiotic earlier, even hours earlier in some cases, saves lives. Why don’t we have the information that we need, to know what antibiotic we can use, sooner? There’s really no excuse in this day and age.”
Hung and her colleagues have been working to tackle this problem using a new approach that may represent a shift in diagnostic thinking. In a paper appearing this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they present results indicating that it may be possible to rapidly diagnose patients and determine antibiotic resistance or susceptibility.
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