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Viruses Can Now Detect Bacterial Superbugs

Potentially fatal antibiotic-resistant bacteria can now be found in a matter of minutes.

Lara Piras
Lara Piras on May 17, 2013.

Scientists at Auburn University in Alabama have used bacteria-killing viruses to find superbugs with new methods that previously took hours. These viruses can act as biosensors to find resistant strains of staphylococcus (a bacterium that usually resides on the skin) in less than twelve minutes, which can mean the difference between life and death for some patients.

In a study released recently in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, Dr. Vodyanoy has revealed the groundbreaking process that will enable doctors to provide quicker and more efficient care to patients alongside a more thorough way of disinfecting hospitals. The pathegons are identified by their change of color when applied to drug-resistant samples providing results in much less time than current methods, which involve lengthy purification techniques.

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Vodyanoy explains, ‘We envision a future where clinicians do tests with real blood or saliva samples. The virus is completely benign to humans, and we hope to use it to make antimicrobial surfaces and glassware that kill the bacteria.’

With government reports that as many as 90,000 people in the US suffer from potentially deadly infections such as MRSA and further reports that the death toll could be surpassing AIDs fatalities, this positive news comes at a critical time in medicine and patient care.

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