In the Journals

Novel method quickly identifies bacteria, resistance with accuracy

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December 4, 2014

A new method of rapidly identifying bacteria also may be able to accurately determine their antibiotic resistance and sensitivity, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Science for Life Laboratory, Stockholm, combined a growth-based phenotypic test with a highly sensitive and specific genotypic test to examine resistance in bacterial samples. Eighty-eight infected urine samples were cultivated and analyzed. Different commonly used antibiotics were introduced to the samples, with increased copies of a specific DNA sequence used to identify bacterium resistance.

“We have developed a new method that permits identification of both the species and the resistance pattern of bacteria in urinary infections in less than 4 hours,” Dan I. Andersson, PhD, of Uppsala University, said in a press release. “By comparison, the resistance determination done at present takes 1 to 2 days.”

Of the 56 Escherichia coli samples that passed the criteria for establishing antibiotic susceptibility profiles, all were correctly profiled. This also was the case for samples in which a second pathogen was present.

The test could be automated for use in clinical laboratories, the researchers wrote, and an instrument for automation is commercially available. Furthermore, methods could be adapted for use with different types of samples and bacterial species other than E. coli.

“Clinical use of the method would mean that the right antibiotic treatment could be started straightaway, reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics,” Andersson said in the release.

Disclosure: One researcher reported holding shares in Q-linea, a company that holds commercial rights to the researchers’ method.

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