A new method to treat urinary tract infections has been devised using DNA sequencing with a device that looks like a USB stick called MinION.
The device performs sequencing to characterise bacteria from urine samples four times faster than the traditional methods of culturing bacteria. It also detects resistance to anti-biotics making treatment more effective.
To be presented at the the American Society for Microbiology’s Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC) in San Diego, the device will help doctors to treat urinary tract infections avoiding over-treatment or carpet-bombing approach.
Researchers from the University of East Anglia said most of urinary infections are mild and only affect the lower urinary tract. But few of them are troublesome called "asending’ UTIs which cause a growing burden of hospitalisation among the elderly patients.
"At worst, infection spills into the bloodstream, leading to a condition called urosepsis, which can be fatal," Prof David Livermore, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said. There were more than 30,000 cases of Escherichia coli bloodstream infections in England in 2014.
Since it takes two days to culture bacteria in lab, doctors usually prescibe some anti-biotics and once the results are known decrease or increase the dosage, which can be avoided now with MinION.