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The different infections often have very similar symptoms, but antibiotics are only useful in the treatment of illness caused by bacteria.
"We are at the beginning, but we believe this test could help reduce the overuse of antibiotics by quickly identifying viral and bacterial infection," she tells WebMD.
All the patients had fevers and all had been diagnosed as having viral or bacterial infections.
process known as chemiluminescence, which measures light emitted in response to chemical reactions.
She tells WebMD that pharmaceutical companies are not developing new drugs to replace older antibiotics because there is no economic incentive to do so.
Marks say the goal is to be Burberry Wallet For Ladies
Infectious disease specialist Christine Ginocchio, PhD, says antibiotic resistance is a quickly emerging public health crisis.
They found that white blood cells known as phagocytes produced to fight bacteria and viruses had different chemiluminescent signatures that could be easily seen in blood samples within just a few hours.
Cultures are most commonly used in the general practice setting to distinguish between the two types of infection, but it typically takes 24 to 48 hours to confirm a diagnosis.
published this week in the journal Analytical Chemistry, researchers Robert Marks, PhD, and Daria Prilutsky, PhD, examined the ability of a chemiluminescence based blood test they developed to distinguish between viral and bacterial infection in blood samples taken from 69 patients treated in the emergency department of a hospital in Israel.
Viral and Bacterial Symptoms Can Be SimilarBacteria and viruses are the most common cause of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
As a result, antibiotics are often prescribed unnecessarily to people who turn out to have viral infections. This practice has greatly contributed to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.
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"We already have organisms that are Prada Cahier Silver resistant to every drug we throw at them," she tells WebMD. "We have to take a hard look at what we are doing and if we don't change clinical practice we may not have many useful antibiotics left to treat with within a decade.".
Researchers in Israel say they have developed just such a test, but they add that more research is needed to confirm their findings.
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able to also identify fungal and parasitic infection in future generations of the experimental blood test.
Quickly identifying which infections will and will not respond to antibiotics will be increasingly important as older drugs stop working, she says.
Rapid Blood Test Identifies Infection Type
More from WebMDAug. 12, 2011 A rapid blood test that distinguishes between viral and bacterial infection in less than two hours could prove to be a useful weapon in the battle against antibiotic resistance.
Prilutsky adds that the goal is to develop a cost effective, rapid blood test for clinical use within two or three years.
The phagocyte targeting model developed by the researchers was able to distinguish between viral and bacterial infection with a high predictive accuracy.
Antibiotic Resistance a 'Public Health Crisis'Marks tells WebMD that the next step is to confirm the current findings in a larger group of patients and develop software to make applicable to the clinical setting.
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