Revolutionary test 'can listen to bacteria communicate' and diagnose infections within 30 seconds 'could curb antibiotic resistance'

Tuesday 09th July 2019 16:04 EDT

A revolutionary tool that can 'listen to bacteria communicate' could curb antibiotic resistance, scientists say. 

The test, still under development, could be used to diagnose everything from UTIs to lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients.

It works by translating conversations bacteria have before they colonise and attack, which is when they can become life-threatening.

Researchers warn it can take days for standard testing, such as a swab from the back of the throat, to produce a result and lead to a diagnosis.  

This leads doctors to prescribe antibiotics ahead of time, fuelling drug resistance which has been labelled as one of the biggest threats to global health. 

Dr Fatima AlZahra'a Alatraktchi said new technology used within the test is able to pick up bacteria and make a diagnosis within 30 seconds. 

And she hopes it will allow doctors to prescribe specific drugs straight away, reducing the use of blanket treatments or guesswork.

Bacteria communicate by secreting molecules. When there is a large accumulation of these molecules, it signals to the bacteria that they are not alone.

They acknowledge there is an opportunity to attack the body, and initiate action when there is a high enough threshold.  

Together they may overrule healthy bacteria, thrive, and excrete a toxin that is dangerous to the human body.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter