14 November 2014
A team at the University of California (UC) Irvine has created a new test, which can rapidly diagnose a potentially life-threatening bloodstream infection with unprecedented accuracy.
Led by Weian Zhao, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, the researchers developed a new technology called Integrated Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection. The test is able to detect bacteria in millilitres of blood with single-cell sensitivity in as little as 90 minutes.
The work, which was published in Nature Communications, could also be applied to diagnose other diseases like cancer, HIV and possibly even Ebola, according to the researchers.
Globally, blood infections are a serious but common cause of death, with the extremely high mortality rate being attributed in part to the inability to rapidly diagnose and treat patients in the early stages.
Dr Zhao said that separating the samples into so many small drops minimises the interference of other components in blood, making it possible to directly detect the necessary bacteria without the purification that is normally required.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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