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Simple test IDs MRSA, can help prevent spread


Edinburgh, Scotland — A simple test could help to identify and diagnose methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in wounds and prevent its spread.

Medical News Today reports that the test, developed at the University of Edinburgh, works by taking swabs from a wound or sores, then analyzing the swabs using a strip with electrical sensors that can detect MRSA.

Current laboratory tests to confirm whether MRSA is present in a wound can take a full day using conventional techniques. Faster detection would help doctors determine more effective drugs to be given to patients immediately.

Researchers developed the test using swabs from diabetic foot ulcers taken from patients at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. MRSA detection in these patients is important to prevent the spread of infection, which can lead to amputation and increases the risk of mortality.

In a report, the BBC quotes Till Bachmann, Ph.D., of the university’s Division of Pathway Medicine, as saying, “Current tests for MRSA tend to be expensive and not very fast. By developing a rapid and cost-effective test, we would know what kind of infection is present straightaway, which will improve the chance of success in treating it.”

Researchers currently process the swab samples in a laboratory to increase the amount of bacteria present before testing them. They hope to avoid the need for this in the future by improving the strip’s sensitivity, which in turn would enable scientists to develop a test that could be used outside the lab in, for example, a doctor’s office or a patient’s home.

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