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Lung examination intends to cut down Antibiotic Overuse

Apr 11, 2017

Lung examination intends to cut down Antibiotic Overuse

Researchers believe, a novel tool used for imaging, which rapidly diagnoses bacterial lung infections can potentially assist in thwarting preventable use of antibiotics in intensive care units.

Besides, the technology’s fiber-optic tube can identify if at all there are any harmful bacteria present in less than 60 seconds, in order that the patients can be treated with appropriate medicinal drug swiftly.

It is to be believed that the Proteus technology can take care of the surfacing bacteria which are antibiotic-resistant. Precise diagnosis would mean that unwanted use of antibiotics could be prevented if an infection is not present at all.

The scientists from the universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Bath, together have developed this project, and so far Proteus has got £2m funding from the Wellcome Trust. Also, it will receive nearly £0.9m from CARB-X, which is a huge international initiative to handle resistance of antibiotic co-funded by the United States Government and Wellcome.

Proteus makes use of chemicals which illuminate as soon as they get linked to any particular kind of bacterial infection. This visible radiating fluorescent light is identified with the help of fiber-optic tubes which are so small that they can be easily threaded deep inside patients’ lungs.

Possible Side Effects

The research team anticipates that Proteus could revolutionize the process of assessment and treatment of patients with prolonged illness or critically-ill patients. Presently, the doctors are depending on blood tests and X-rays for diagnostic purposes, however these could slow and imprecise.

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to patients as a precautionary measure that exhibits them to several possible side effects. The project lead at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Kev Dhaliwal said: "We need to understand disease in patients better so that we can make better decisions at the bedside.”

He also thinks that this project along with clinical partners will gather clinicians and scientist from several fields from all over the UK to develop a technology which can assist to identify disease in real time at the bedside and aid in giving the right treatments at appropriate time.

Dr Dhaliwal said: "The rise of antimicrobial resistance is the biggest challenge in modern medicine and the support from CARB-X will accelerate development of Proteus technology to be ready for clinical use faster and more widely than previously possible."

Infection pertaining to drug-resistance is as it is a great health challenge, and sooner it’s going to worsen, as per Tim Jinks from the Wellcome Trust. According to him we would need global powers to function together on several fronts – from start to the end of the drug and diagnostic development pipeline.

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