Monday July 23, 2018

New test may prevent antibiotic resistances from spreading

Thereby, physicians would hold a powerful tool from which they could benefit in personalised therapy -- this means the administration of a fitting drug, the researchers said

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Overuse of Antibiotic pills has resulted in development of drug resilient bacterias,, Pixabay
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  • Scientists have found a new kind of test
  • This may prevent antibiotic resistance
  • The new method also provides faster diagnosis

Scientists have developed a new “rapid test” that produces a cheaper and faster diagnosis of infectious diseases in just three hours thus preventing antibiotic resistance from spreading.

Owing to small number of pathogens in a patient’s sample, standard practices require up to 72 hours to allow for a reliable result for the infectious diagnostics. The new method provides much faster diagnosis with the help of tiny electrodes that are fixed on the surface of a stamp-sized chip.

Drug overdose
This new test will stop antibiotic resistance. Pixabay

“Electric fields secure bacteria in a very small area,” said Ute Neugebauer from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany. The scientists then apply various antibiotics in different concentrations on the trapped bacteria and examine them with Raman spectroscopy.

“This means that we irradiate the pathogens with laser light and evaluate the scattered light spectrum”, Neugebauer said. “We combine light-based analytical methods with microfluidic sample processing. With our Lab-on-a-Chip system, thus a miniaturised lab, we are able to clearly identify bacterial strains and their resistances, in less than three hours,” he explained.

Also Read: Asthma Afflicted Children Are Prescribed Unwanted Antibiotics: Study

The combination of fast, light-based diagnostics and a high automation level reduces the time from sampling to result from to date 72 to three and a half hours.

The doctors can then derive whether the strain is resistant or sensible. At the same time they can also derive information on the needed concentration of the antibiotic to constrain bacterial growth.

The test will also lead to faster diagnosis. Wikimedia Commons
The test will also lead to faster diagnosis. Wikimedia Commons

“This is an important diagnostic parameter that influences the success of a treatment decidedly…such a fast procedure could revolutionise diagnostics of infectious diseases”, the researchers said, in a paper published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

Another, more far-reaching, the aim is the further development of a cartridge-based rapid test system, which will enable general practitioners to identify resistances in a fast and easy way for the first time. Thereby, physicians would hold a powerful tool from which they could benefit in personalised therapy — this means the administration of a fitting drug, the researchers said. IANS

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HIV Drug Is Not Linked to Depression: Study

A new study of a popular HIV drug could ease concerns about its link to depression

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A doctor draws blood from a man to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in Ndeeba, a suburb in Uganda's capital, Kampala.
A doctor draws blood from a man to check for HIV/AIDS at a mobile testing unit in Ndeeba, a suburb in Uganda's capital, Kampala. VOA

A new study of a popular HIV drug could ease concerns about its link to depression. Researchers in Uganda found that efavirenz, once feared to lead to depression and suicide, did not cause the expected negative side effects in their patients.

Efavirenz is an affordable, once-a-day pill used around the globe to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS. It’s “the treatment of choice” in most of the world, according to Africa Health Research Institute’s Mark Siedner, “especially [in] countries that depend on global aid to treat HIV.”

But some fear that efavirenz may come with a cost.

Some studies in the United States and Europe found the drug increased patients’ risk of depression or suicide, although other studies did not.

The mixed results prompted many doctors in the United States to prescribe more expensive but potentially safer drugs.

Siedner wanted to take another look at the risk of depression, this time in an African population. From 2005 until 2015, he and a team of Ugandan and U.S. doctors tracked 694 patients who took either efavirenz or another antiretroviral medication. They regularly asked the patients whether they experienced depression or suicidal thoughts.

No difference

Their analysis, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, showed there was no difference between the two treatments. Siedner told VOA, “In other words, efavirenz was not associated with a risk of depression. If anything, there seems to be a signal that potentially it was associated with a decreased risk. But it wasn’t a strong enough [signal] for us to say that.”

The authors also reported that of the 17 participants who died in the course of the study, not a single death was a suicide.

Siedner has two possible explanations for why their findings differed from those in Western countries. “One potential cause is that every single ethnic group in the world, of course, is different, and different in many different ways — different socially, different environmentally, and in this case they may be different genetically.” His team is looking at whether the genes that control metabolism of the drug have a role to play in this story.

HIV Aids is a deadly disease.
HIV virus is Not Linked To Depression. Flickr

A second explanation could be the effectiveness of the drug. Because efavirenz is so potent, it could be keeping people healthier than they expected, so patients are less likely to report negative emotions.

The study is important, said Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, because it pushes back against “the initial observation of suicidal ideation and suicide and depression” as caused by efavirenz. He told VOA, “I think now what you’re seeing is that with these conflicting reports, it’s likely someone will come in [with] the proposal to do a randomized study and take a look. So the story isn’t ended with this paper.”

As more research on the safety of efavirenz is conducted, new and cheaper drugs that might replace it are on the horizon. One of them, dolutegravir, might also pose a risk, however. A study in Botswana found dolutegravir was linked to neural tube defects in embryos, meaning it might not be safe for pregnant women. As always, further research is needed to confirm whether this is a common problem or specific to the population studied in Botswana.

Also read: UNAIDS : World Is At A “Defining Moment” In A Battle Against HIV/AIDS

“I think the whole field right now is in a bit of a holding pattern,” Siedner said when asked about dolutegravir and the future of HIV medication. (VOA)