The molecular method ‘5PSeq’ developed by the Swedish researchers is easy to use and is based on the sequencing of messenger RNA (mRNA) that the bacteria break down during the synthesis of proteins. The measurements show how the bacteria are affected by various environmental factors, such as antibiotic treatments and other types of stress.
“We hope this could be one of many tools doctors need to address antibiotic resistance, a serious and growing problem,” said lead researcher Vicent Pelechano, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at Karolinska Institutet. in a press release.
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Rapid test for clinical use
The researchers tested the method on 96 bacterial species from different phyla in complex clinical samples, for example from faeces and the vagina, but also in compost samples. After only a few minutes they could see whether or not the bacteria responded to antibiotic treatment; the effect was most apparent after about half an hour.
3N Bio is a company started by Pelechano and his colleagues to further develop the method and develop a rapid molecular test for clinical use. They have now received funding from the Swedish Research Council to demonstrate proof of concept for a test in collaboration with Karolinska University Hospital.
“It is critical that physicians can quickly find the right antibiotics for critically ill patients with bacterial infections to reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics,” says Pelechano. “Current methods of testing antibiotic resistance can take hours or even days, but often faster treatment is needed to avoid serious consequences for the patient. As a result, a broad-spectrum antibiotic is often prescribed, which increases the risk of resistance.”
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