Blood test could avoid inappropriate use of antibiotics for respiratory infections
A rapid blood test to help distinguish between bacterial and other (predominantly viral) infections could substantially reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics for common infections, conclude authors of a study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET.
Lower respiratory tract infections are often treated with antibiotics-even though there is often no evidence of bacterial infection. Such inappropriate use of antibiotics is contributing to the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria with serious implications for public health. Blood concentrations of a calcitonin precursor protein known as procalcitonin are substantially raised during acute bacterial infection.
Beat Müller from University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of a sensitive blood test to identify procalcitonin concentrations to guide antibiotic treatment among patients with lower respiratory-tract disease (eg, pneumonia, bronchitis).
243 patients with suspected lower respiratory tract infections were randomly assigned standard care (standard group) or procalcitonin-guided treatment (procalcitonin group). Antibiotics were given only if procalcitonin concentrations were above a specific threshold among patients in the procalcitonin group.
The number of patients in the procalcitonin group who received antibiotics was halved compared with the standard treatment group. This withholding of antibiotics had no adverse effect on health outcome (no overall difference between the two groups, with 97% of all patients making a good recovery). Around 80% of patients were later found to have viral infection for diagnoses such as pneumonia (36% of patients), exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, 25%), and acute bronchitis (24%). Conversely, in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD, 60% positive sputum cultures for bacteria were found regardless of whether procalcitonin concentrations were high or low; however, those patients not treated with antibiotics because of low procalcitonin still had successful infection clearance: these patients were colonised with bacteria, but the bacteria were not responsible for the infection.
Beat Müller comments: ‘Procalcitonin guidance substantially reduced antibiotic use in lower respiratory tract infections. Withholding antimicrobial treatment did not compromise outcome. In view of the current overuse of antimicrobial therapy in often self-limiting acute respiratory tract infections, treatment based on procalcitonin measurement could have important clinical and financial implications’.
Richard Lane | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...