A screening test that quickly confirms antibiotic effectiveness has been developed by a team of scientists from The University of Western Australia.
Their method will help ensure the most potent antibiotics are prescribed sooner and could ultimately save lives.
The time-saving solution known as FAST (Flow cytometer-assisted Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing) gives a reliable reading on how resistant bacteria will be in just 30 minutes – 21 hours faster than the international standard.
Microbial resistance is a matter of global concern as it increases the risk of treatment failure in a wide range of common infectious diseases.
Dr Tim Inglis said it was becoming more difficult to treat patients with severe infections.
“Resistant bacteria are chipping away at the 20 years antibiotics add to our life expectancy,” Dr Inglis said.
“Unfortunately, standard methods of antibiotic susceptibility testing take 48 to 72 hours and delay decisions on antibiotic treatment.
“Physicians are forced to rely on educated guesswork, which can further promote antimicrobial resistance and also increase the risk of treatment failure.
“This is a huge step forward in providing quicker methods of antimicrobial susceptibility testing.”
Scientists from internationally recognised reference laboratories are now travelling to Perth to learn how to run FAST methods and are equipping their labs to offer the testing locally.
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