Are Faster Diagnostics (Finally) Here?

We are all quite familiar with the age-old problem: many times, the diagnosis of the microbial agent responsible for an infection takes days.  In the best of cases, a broad spectrum antibiotic is prescribed while doctors await lab results, which contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.  In the worst cases, the patient does not have a few days to wait, as their life hangs tentatively in the balance.

We may finally be on the brink of rapid diagnostics.  In July, The Scientist highlighted three promising techniques, one of which (NMR detection of magnetic DNA “sandwiches”) has been tested and proven on clinical samples.  I’m really excited about the potential health care implications of all three of these techniques.  Check out the article here.


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Embriette Hyde

Embriette Hyde is a postdoctoral associate in Rob Knight's lab at UCSD.