Wednesday September 19, 2018

MinION, device to cure urinary tract infection

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New York: Urinary tract infections could be treated more quickly and efficiently now, using a DNA sequencing device which is similar to the size of a USB stick, says a study.

“We found that this device, which is the size of a USB stick, could detect the bacteria in heavily infected urine – and provide its DNA sequence in just 12 hours. This is a quarter of the time needed for conventional microbiology,” said one of the researchers Justin O’Grady from University of East Anglia in England.

The new device called MinION detected bacteria from urine samples four times more quickly than traditional methods of culturing bacteria.

The new method can also detect antibiotic resistance – allowing patients to be treated more effectively, the researchers said.

“Swift results like these will make it possible to refine a patient’s treatment much earlier – and that is good for the patient, who gets the ‘right’ antibiotic,” O’Grady said.

“This technology is rapid and capable not only of identifying the bacteria in UTIs (urinary tract infections), but also detecting drug-resistance at the point of clinical need,” O’Grady noted.

Professor David Livermore from University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School explained that urinary tract infections are among the most common reasons for prescribing antibiotics.

“Antibiotics are vital, especially if bacteria has entered the bloodstream, and must be given urgently. But unfortunately it takes two days to grow the bacteria in the lab and test which antibiotics kill them,” Livermore noted.

As a result, doctors must prescribe a broad range antibiotics, targeting the bacteria most likely to be responsible, and then adjust treatment once the lab results come through, he pointed out.

“This ‘carpet-bombing’ approach represents poor antibiotic stewardship, and it is vital that we move beyond it. The way to do so lies in accelerating laboratory investigation, so that treatment can be refined earlier, benefitting the patient, who gets an effective antibiotic, and society, whose diminishing stock of antibiotics is better managed,” Livermore said.

The findings were presented at an international medical conference run jointly by the American Society for Microbiology’s Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC) at San Diego in the US.

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8,000 New Combinations Identified to Slow Down Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people

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Antibiotic
Health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics. Pixabay

Biologists have identified over 8,000 new combinations of antibiotics that are surprisingly more effective at killing harmful bacteria than the prevailing ones.

Scientists have traditionally believed that combining more than two drugs to fight harmful bacteria would yield diminishing returns.

The prevailing theory is that the incremental benefits of combining three or more drugs would be too small to matter, or that the interactions among the drugs would cause their benefits to cancel one another out.

However, the study discovered over 8,000 combinations of four and five existing medications that are effective, a finding that could be a major step toward protecting public health at a time when pathogens and common infections are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, the researchers said.

“I was blown away by how many effective combinations there are as we increased the number of drugs,” said Van Savage, the Professor at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA).

“People may think they know how drug combinations will interact, but they really don’t.”

For the study, reported in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, the team looked at eight common antibiotics and analysed how every possible four to five drug combination, including with varying dosages, worked against E-coli.

Bacteria
Bacteria, Pixabay

The combinations were effective because individual medications have different means of targeting E. coli.

“Some drugs attack the cell walls, others attack the DNA inside,” Savage said. “It’s like attacking a castle or fortress. Combining different methods of attacking may be more effective than just a single approach.”

“There is a tradition of using just one drug, maybe two,” said Pamela Yeh, Assistant Professor at the UCLA.

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“We’re offering an alternative that looks very promising. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just single drugs or two-drug combinations in our medical toolbox.

“We expect several of these combinations, or more, will work much better than existing antibiotics,” Yeh added.

However, Yeh noted that although the results are very promising, the drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people. (IANS)

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