Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/19/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Test determines if illness is either viral or bacterial infection, ceasing over-prescription of antibiotics

The overuse of antibiotics in medicine has led to a strain of drug-resistant illnesses that have left the medical community baffled. It's the result of good intentions on the part of many doctors: A patient comes in with a fever and the doctor prescribes antibiotics just in case. These drugs don't work if a virus is to blame. Now, a new test will let physicians know if the ailment is either viral or a bacterial infection, stopping the overuse of antibiotics. 

A negative test for symptoms, i.e. a cough or fever not leading to a common cold diagnosis, can leave the doctor wondering what germ to check for next, or to make a 'guess-timate.'

A negative test for symptoms, i.e. a cough or fever not leading to a common cold diagnosis, can leave the doctor wondering what germ to check for next, or to make a "guess-timate."

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/19/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Virus, infection, test, drug-resistant


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - A blood test to more easily tell when a respiratory illness is due to a virus and not a bacterial infection is being developed by Duke University researchers.

The system takes a fingerprint of the patient's immune system and how the genes are fighting the bug. If the experimental test pans out, it promises to help doctors track mysterious new health threats, such as the next flu pandemic or that mysterious MERS virus in the Middle East.


That viral "signature could be quite powerful, and may be a game-changer," said Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg, Duke's genomic medicine chief. Team leader Ginsburg says that a study involving 102 people has provided evidence that the test can work.


When symptoms aren't enough for diagnosis, a doctor's suspicion guides what tests are performed. These tests search for a specific pathogen. A negative test for symptoms, i.e. a cough or fever not leading to a common cold diagnosis, can leave the doctor wondering what germ to check for next, or to make a "guess-timate."


Tests performed quickly in an office setting aren't always accurate and can miss infections. Patients may have blood or other samples sent to labs to try to grow any lurking bacteria and tell if it's to blame - and this can take days.


"This is something we struggle with every day," Dr. Octavio Ramilo, infectious disease chief at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio says. Ramilo wasn't involved in the new study. He says that a respiratory virus and a bacterial infection, especially in children "in the beginning look completely alike," he added.


Researchers at a number of universities are trying to harness a fairly recent discovery: As your immune system detects an invading bug, different genes are activated to fend off a viral infection than to fight a bacterial or fungal one. 


These changes occur even before the patient feels any symptoms, forming distinct patterns of RNA and proteins, what's called a genomic fingerprint.


The Duke team discovered 30 genes that are switched on in different ways during a viral attack. The test essentially is a freeze-frame to show "what those genes are doing at the moment in time that it's captured," Duke lead researcher Dr. Aimee Zaas says.


Finally, why is determining that a virus is present - or not, so important? That's enough information to rule out antibiotics, Zaas said. Unnecessary antibiotic use is one factor in the growing problem of drug-resistant germs, which the government blames for more than 23,000 deaths a year.


Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Health

WHICH IS WORSE? 'I'd rather have HIV than diabetes,' one controversial doctor says Watch

Image of Dr. Max Pemberton say that it is now very rare for someone to die of HIV in the U.K. and that, in fact, people with the virus have a very similar life expectancy to people who are HIV-negative.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

At one time, HIV and AIDS was considered a horrifying death sentence. There was no way to control it, and those who suffered from it would suffer, long painful deaths as their faculties fell away. Diabetes, on the other hand, was a given for those who ... continue reading


Death lurks about the cutting board: Kitchens could be sources of drug-resistant bacteria, experts warn Watch

Image of Ironically, the cutting board -- and NOT the knife, represents the greatest threat to health and safety, experts say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's a killer lurking undetected in many ordinary kitchens, experts warn. Cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry may be an important source of drug-resistant bacteria in both hospital kitchens and private homes, a new study warns. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Uh-oh! One in every 20 adults seeking medical care walks away misdiagnosed Watch

Image of In little more than five percent of cases, the original diagnosis was wrong and could have been accurately detected by the information available in the first setting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're diligent and go to your doctor regularly - you still may not be getting a clean bill of health. According to a new study, one in 20 Americans who see their doctor may walk away having their condition misdiagnosed. Twelve million Americans a year could ... continue reading


Analysis: Millions wasted on shoddy flu drug, Tamiflu Watch

Image of The analysis, from the Cochrane Collaboration claims Tamiflu did not prevent the spread of flu or reduce dangerous complications.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's an especially harsh analysis for a drug that many people keep in their bathroom mirror for a sudden outbreak of the sniffles. A new analysis says that many millions may have been wasted on Tamiflu, a common drug used to treat flu symptoms. According to the ... continue reading


Deadly H5N1 bird flu virus could easily mutate to spread from human to human Watch

Image of When the healthy ferret developed flu symptoms, such as ruffled fur, loss of appetite and lack of energy - researchers knew the virus had spread through the air.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The avian flu, or H5N1 virus was so deadly scientists once halted research as governments feared it might be used by terrorists to stage a biological attack. The dreaded H5N1 avian influenza has since killed 60 percent of the 650 humans known to be infected ... continue reading


Scottish scientists successfully regenerate organ in mouse - could humans be next? Watch

Image of After the regeneration, the treated mice also started to make more T-cells, which is a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A breakthrough which may pave the way for the technique to be used in humans has been uncovered by Scottish scientists. Researchers have been able to fully restore an organ in a living animal for the first time.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The team ... continue reading


New drug used to treat breast cancer heralded as 'quite groundbreaking' Watch

Image of While Pfizer remains in the lead to bring this new class of drugs to market, Novartis has begun late-stage testing of its own CDK 4/6 inhibitor.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An important treatment option in the fight against breast cancer may be waiting in the wings. Researchers say a new type of drug could help prevent advanced breast cancer from worsening. The potential is great for breast cancer patients, and makes for a ... continue reading


Delicious Earl Grey tea found to have hidden health benefit Watch

Image of Bergamot is a Mediterranean citrus fruit which gives Earl Grey its distinct taste and smell. It has enjoyed popularity among the upper and middle classes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many drink it for its taste and the enjoyment it brings, without thought of it being "good for them." Scientists now say that Earl Grey tea can lower cholesterol and reduce the chances of heart disease. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A popular beverage ... continue reading


Deaf since birth, woman hears - for the first time Watch

Image of Deaf since birth, 40-year-old Joanne Milne received cochlear implants - and is now learning to hear the world for the very first time. Electronic implants were switched on, and Milne burst into tears when the sound of a nurse reciting the days of the week gave her the first sensation of sound.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Deaf since birth, 40-year-old Joanne Milne received cochlear implants - and is now learning to hear the world for the very first time. Electronic implants were switched on, and Milne burst into tears when the sound of a nurse reciting the days of the week gave ... continue reading


Two people in United Kingdom contract tuberculosis - from their cats Watch

Image of Public Health England believed the risk of transmission from cats to humans was

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tuberculosis has roared back into the public consciousness with the spread of a new drug-resistant strain. There are reports from the United Kingdom, now of two people there - who contracted the deadly airborne from their cats. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter