Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/19/2013 (6 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 (6 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 calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Health

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


New procedure may replace intrusive method for diagnosis of bowel issues Watch

Image of If one is accused of putting on airs, some people suggest that yours doesn't stink.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If one is accused of putting on airs, some people suggest that yours doesn't stink. In more serious news - the smell of feces may now diagnose certain bowel conditions without the usual intrusive methods used to diagnose various intestinal issues. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


World is now 80 percent polio free, WHO says Watch

Image of Vaccination remains a problem in the mostly rural Pakistan, but that didn't prevent the neighboring nation of India from declaring no reported cases of polio in three years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Amidst all the bad news the world has to offer, here is a ray of sunshine: the World Health Organization has declared that the world is now 80 percent free of polio. Vaccination remains a problem in the mostly rural Pakistan, but that didn't prevent the ... continue reading


Do three peaches a day keep breast cancer away? Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a new study, eating three peaches a day could help people beat breast cancer. Research conducted by U.S. scientists have found that treatments with peach extract appeared to inhibit the spread of breast cancer when tested on mice. LOS ANGELES, CA ... 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, Isaiah 50:4-9
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34
8 I am estranged from my brothers, alienated from my ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 26:14-25
14 Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 16th, 2014 Image

St. Bernadette
April 16: On April 16, 1879, Bernadette -- or Sister Marie-Bernard, as she ... 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