Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/19/2013 (1 year 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."

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/19/2013 (1 year 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 January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Health

Ancient Siberian brain surgeries reenacted in present day Watch

Image of Amazingly, these brain surgeries were accomplished with little more than crude knives.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is amazing what Russian surgeons of 2,300 years ago were capable of. Delicate brain surgeries - found in the skeletal remains of Siberian patients, point to great sophistication and skill. Modern day doctors have since recreated these surgeries, opening a ... continue reading


Mystery illness leaves more than 100 kids paralyzed with poliolike symptoms Watch

Image of Doctors have no idea what is really causing paralysis in more than 100 kids throughout the United States.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 100 kids have been infected with a mysterious illness that causes poliolike symptoms of paralysis in the United States since August 2014. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reports of the illness began surfacing around the same time enterovirus D68, a severe ... continue reading


Growing the Church in China

Image of

By John Smagula

The world's best teas are grown in China, but many of these teas are unknown in the United States. Remote tea farms in exotic locations produce teas that rarely reach the American teacup. Of the 1.75 million tons of tea that China produces each year, less than 2% is ... continue reading


Teenage Mutant Ninja mosquitoes may be unleashed in the Florida Keys Watch

Image of It will mark the first time that insects with modified DNA will be set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it may sound like a science fiction film straight out of the 1950s, genetically modified mosquitoes may shortly be unleashed on the Florida Keys. While sounding very sinister and threatening, the reason is benign. British researchers win approval to use ... continue reading


Is this it? Has the cure for cancer been found? New proton therapy offers great hope to cancer patients Watch

Image of There are currently 121 Proton Therapy centers around the world, according to CNN.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The battle to cure cancer is one that has been continuously fought for decades. Chemotherapy, radiation, monoclonal antibodies and surgery have all had their fare share in beating cancer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chemotherapy has had many success stories, ... continue reading


KILLER FLU: 8.5 percent of all deaths nationally, ending January 10 were due to pneumonia and influenza Watch

Image of It most also be noted that the center does not track adult deaths, but does keep track of the number of children who die after having the flu.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're a bit under the weather, join the club. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this year's flu season has returned to an epidemic level. For the week ending January 10, 8.5 percent of all reported deaths were due to influenza or pneumonia. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Bishops Invite All Catholics to Make a Digital Pilgrimage for Life

Image of

By USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

When people hear the word "pilgrimage," many think of far-off destinations, such as Lourdes, Fatima, or Santiago de Compostela. Today, in the digital era, we have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage without ever leaving our hometown. In fact, the U.S. Bishops are ... continue reading


Walking, for life: Brisk 20-minute stroll found to extend life Watch

Image of A 20-minute walk at a vigorous pace or a cycle ride of the same duration moves an individual from being classed as inactive to moderately inactive.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Walking has always been the favored low-impact exercise that most everyone can accomplish. Now, researchers say that a daily 20-minute walk could reduce the risk of an early death by almost a third. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Couch potatoes," those who ... continue reading


Amazing new spinal implant heals paralysis Watch

Image of Composed of silicone and platinum with stretchable gold interconnects that transmit and transfer electrical signals.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For years researchers, doctors and scientists have tried to find a way to bring movement back to paralyzed patients. Recent progress has been made; flexible, soft spinal implants that send electrical signals are showing strong potential in healing paralysis, according ... continue reading


Do you have this cancer-causing gene? Scientists find gene that causes deadly form of breast cancer Watch

Image of A new study has revealed the gene that causes one of the most aggressive and hard to treat forms of breast cancer, and may point the way to an effective treatment or preventative method.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is new hope for women suffering with, or at high risk for, breast cancer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England have discovered what triggers triple-negative breast cancer, which is fast growing, ... 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, Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Yahweh your God will raise up a prophet like me; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Come, let us cry out with joy to Yahweh, acclaim ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 1:21-28
21 They went as far as Capernaum, and at once on the ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I should like you to have your minds free from all ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 1st, 2015 Image

St. Brigid of Ireland
February 1: Brigid was probably born at Faughart near Dundalk, Louth, ... 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