The electrochemical test measures antibiotic resistance


Researchers at Washington State University have developed an electrochemical test that can quickly identify antibiotic-resistant bacteria in patient samples. The technology can provide a result in less than 90 minutes, and is based on measuring the electrochemical activity of bacteria after being exposed to antibiotics. The data reveal the metabolism and respiration of bacteria, and if they are still metabolized happily after exposure to an antibiotic, they are considered to be resistant to it. By providing a quick answer to the question of antibiotic resistance, the method could be very helpful for physicians in prescribing the most appropriate antibiotic for their patients.

In the age of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, prescribing the right antibiotic is becoming crucial. If a doctor makes a mistake, the treatment will not work and poorly made antibiotics could even contribute to new resistant forms of bacteria. Currently, the most common way for healthcare professionals to determine the resistance status of an infection is to take a sample from the patient and then analyze it in the lab. However, this involves culturing the bacteria for significant periods of time, perhaps up to a couple of days. For a patient with a severe infection, this is too long.

“The idea here is to give results to doctors much more quickly so that they can make clinically appropriate decisions within the time period they are working, rather than having to wait,” said Douglas Call, a researcher involved in the study. “Instead of looking for the growth of a culture, we look for metabolism, and that’s basically what we’re detecting by the movement of these electrons so that it can happen in much shorter periods of time compared to a conventional crop-based assay.” .

The new test involves using a probe to measure the electrochemical activity of bacteria, as an indirect measure of their metabolism. The test involves exposing the bacterial sample to an antibiotic and then measuring the metabolism of the bacteria: if they continue to be metabolized to normal levels, they are unlikely to be affected by the drug.

Previously, this would have been very difficult, as bacteria do not easily transfer electrons to an electrode in their culture medium, but the researchers used a solution in the form of a chemical addition that can transport electrons from the bacterium’s surface to the surface. ‘electrode.

Excitingly, researchers can further accelerate the test, with further development. “We’re doing it in two hours, but if we understand the mechanisms better, maybe we can do it in minutes,” said Haluk Beyenal, another developer of the new test. “As long as the bacteria are alive, we can do this measurement.”

Study a Biosensors and Bioelectronics: Rapid differentiation of antibiotic-sensitive and resistant bacteria by mediated extracellular electron transfer

Via: Washington State University

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