New Data Suggests Molecular Diagnostic Technology May Help Doctors Limit Antibiotic Drug Resistance

04 Oct 2013
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Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned about the growing prevalence of, and public health danger posed by, multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria, also known as super bugs. U.S. health officials estimate that every year drug resistant organisms infect 2 million people and kill 23,000.

Health care providers need diagnostic products to help them quickly identify MDR bacteria so that they may expedite targeted anti-infective therapy, potentially improving clinical outcomes, and reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics, the leading cause of drug resistance.

MDR is a hot topic at the Infectious Disease Week Scientific Conference (Oct. 2-6, San Francisco) and new data suggests that a test in development by Ibis Biosciences, a division of Abbott, may provide rapid, highly accurate detection and identification of bacterial infections.


According to data from two presentations at the meeting, Abbott’s PCR/ESI-MS technology may be able to accurately detect hard-to-culture bacteria and identify a diverse array of gram-negative bacterial antibiotic resistance genes. The technology may help guide physicians in the safe and appropriate use of antibiotics. Additionally, the technology combines the high levels of sensitivity and specificity of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology with the precision and accuracy of mass spectrometry. This combination is designed to allow for identification and characterization of very broad groups of pathogens without having to narrowly focus on detecting each microbe individually. The result is the ability to cover many more organisms at once.

Abbott is currently developing a test that detects and identifies nearly 800 species of bacteria and candida directly from human blood and identifies genetic markers that predict bacterial drug resistance. Rapid diagnosis of these infections can be crucial for successful patient outcomes.

Using Molecular Diagnostics to Decipher the Genetic Basis of Antibiotic Resistance in Clinical Isolates of Gram-Negative Bacteria:
https://idsa.confex.com/idsa/2013/webprogram/Paper42292.html

Detection of Anaerobic Bacteria Directly from Clinical Specimens with PCR followed by Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) vs. Anaerobic Culture: https://idsa.confex.com/idsa/2013/webprogram/Paper39238.html

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Sonia Nicholas
Clinical Diagnostics Editor