Scientists develop hand-held rapid test that can diagnose bacterial infections ...

Scientists develop hand-held rapid test that can diagnose bacterial infections ...
Scientists develop hand-held rapid test that can diagnose bacterial infections ...

A new, hand-held test may allow doctors to easily diagnose bacterial infections in under an hour.

The test, developed by a team at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, uses a microchip to analyze a droplet of bodily fluid - blood, urine, or saliva - looking for a specific match.

Researchers tried out the test on urinary tract infections, showing that it could identify the bacterial cause of these infections with a clinical sensitivity of 100 percent and specificity of 78 percent.

This means it gives very few false positives and no false negatives.

In producing results quickly, researchers say the test provides patients with ready answers and allows doctors to work more efficiently.

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A new test developed by researchers at McMaster University can easily - and accurately - diagnose bacterial infections in under an hour. Pictured: McMaster University researcher Richa Pandey holds up her study group's new test, which can diagnose bacterial infections in minutes

A new test developed by researchers at McMaster University can easily - and accurately - diagnose bacterial infections in under an hour. Pictured: McMaster University researcher Richa Pandey holds up her study group's new test, which can diagnose bacterial infections in minutes

Anybody who has gotten a PCR test for Covid in the past year  - considered the gold standard of tests = knows the woes of waiting for results.

In most cases, diagnosing an infection involves taking a sample and sending it off to a lab. The lab may send back test results in days or weeks.

This can be challenging for patients, who suffer continued symptoms while they wait for results. 

It's also challenging for doctors who must act as middlemen between patients and testing labs, taking time away from their other clinical duties.

In the Covid realm, patients can now swap out a time-consuming PCR test for faster options, such as antigen tests that can be done right in a doctor's office or a patient's home.

While these rapid tests may not be as accurate as PCR tests, their convenience and low cost make them a better choice in many situations.

Researchers are now looking to provide the same cheaper, faster options for other diseases.

'Clinicians identified testing delays as a problem that needed to be resolved,' said Leyla Soleymani, engineering professor at McMaster and one of the lead designers of the test.

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