Washington DC: A team of researchers has come out with a DNA sequencing device that can improve treatment of urinary infections.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) could be treated more quickly and efficiently using a DNA sequencing device the size of a USB stick, according to University of East Anglia research from the.
Researchers used a new device called MinION to perform nanopore sequencing to characterise bacteria from urine samples four times more quickly than using traditional methods of culturing bacteria.
The new method can also detect antibiotic resistance - allowing patients to be treated more effectively and improving stewardship of diminishing antibiotic reserves.
David Livermore, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said that urinary tract infections are among the most common reasons for prescribing antibiotics. Most are mild and only affect the lower urinary tract, but a few are more troublesome. These 'ascending' UTIs cause a growing burden of hospitalisations, mostly of elderly patients.
Researcher Justin O'Grady said that they found that this device, which is the size of a USB stick, could detect the bacteria in heavily infected urine - and provide its DNA sequence in just 12 hours. This is a quarter of the time needed for conventional microbiology.
The findings will be unveiled today at an international four-day medical conference in San Diego.