In addition to being time consuming, laboratory testing of wounds for potentially harmful infection requires an investment of technical instrumentation and analysis. However, scientists in the UK have developed a new system allowing for rapid detection of infection by simple color change.
The Diagnostic Challenge
Current wound infection tests typically rely on samples taken from swabs that must be analyzed at a clinical laboratory. By the time an infection is confirmed, the opportunity to treat it in its earliest stages may be lost. While prescribing antibiotics on a prophylactic basis may preserve the opportunity for early treatment in the event of a positive result, it also contributes to overutilization and the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria. What is needed is an accurate test that can be used to detect whether a wound is infected, rapidly at the point of care.
The SPaCE NtP Rapid Test Researchers from the UK
have reportedly developed a new test capable of determining whether a wound is infected within 30 to 60 minutes. Created by scientists from the University of Bath, the test uses simple components and processes. The way it works:
A swab used to collect a sample from the wound is inserted into a liquid solution that contains small vesicles encased with a fluorescent dye. When incubated in the solution, potentially harmful bacteria release virulence factors that lyse the vesicles, releasing the dye and producing a color change that can be easily determined using a handheld fluorimeter. The target bacteria include S
taphylococcus aureus, P
andida species, and E
nterococcus faecalis (SPaCE). Hence, the product’s name, SPaCE NtP. In addition to eliminating the need to decide between risking loss of early treatment windows and prophylactic use of antibiotics pending laboratory test results, the SPaCE NtP may be ideally suited for use in low-resource and remote areas. “Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is seen as a major health care challenge by the World Health Organization,” said Toby Jenkins, a researcher involved in the study, in a statement. “Our technology will enable health care professionals to make better prescribing decisions, which will help reduce the spread of resistance.”