One of the main drivers of antibiotic resistance is overprescription and misuse of antibiotics. But in a new study, researchers reveal how they are a step closer to developing a blood test that can identify whether a respiratory illness is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, allowing more accurate antibiotic prescribing.
Previously, the researchers pinpointed gene signatures that were linked to viral infections, but they note that this latest study is the first to distinguish non-infectious and viral infections from bacterial infections. By measuring patients' gene expression profiles from blood samples, the team found they could use the previously identified gene signatures to correctly identify patients with flu viruses, rhinovirus, various strep bacteria and other common infections with 87% accuracy.
Based on their results, the researchers believe they are one step closer to creating a simple blood test that could aid antibiotic prescription practices.
Blood test could identify which patients need antibiotics
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