Urinary tract infection (UTI) treatment improves with DNA sequence device called MinION. The research comes from the University of East Anglia. The MinION device performs nanopore sequences to characterize bacteria from urine samples four times quicker than traditional methods. Furthermore, the new device can detect antibiotic resistance so that treatment can be improved within patients.
Professor David Livermore from the university said, “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 hospitalizations, mostly of elderly patients. At worst, infection spills into the bloodstream, leading to a condition called urosepsis, which can be fatal.”
Antibiotics are the best form of treatment for UTIs, and there is such a large variety, so being able to pinpoint the best antibiotic can better improve treatment and reduce the amount of over-prescribing of antibiotics.
Dr Justin O’Grady from the university added, “We 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. Swift results like these will make it possible to refine a patient’s treatment much earlier – and that’s good for the patient, who gets the ‘right’ antibiotic, and for society – which can better manage or ‘steward’ its limited supply of antibiotics.”
O’Grady concluded, “It is crucial that we do overcome them, because the old approach of using an ever broader range of antibiotics is no longer viable, given the shortage of new drugs, and the growing diversity and complexity of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
The MinION device and its findings will be presented at a medical conference in San Diego run by the American Society for Microbiology’s Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC).