ARTICLE | Tools & Techniques

RNA profiling pathogens

April 19, 2012 7:00 AM UTC

Massachusetts researchers have developed an RNA-based method for the rapid detection of pathogens in clinical samples.1 The team is now designing an integrated diagnostic platform that contains a comprehensive set of bacterial, viral and fungal probes to help pinpoint specific pathogens and their degree of drug resistance more efficiently than conventional diagnostics.

Most hospitals rely on culture-based methods to diagnose infectious diseases and determine drug resistance. Culturing infectious agents typically takes two to four days, and determining a pathogen's drug resistance profile can take up to a month. The long delay necessitates the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat the early stages of infection and also can increase a patient's risk of death because the optimal treatment regimen remains unidentified...