Urinary tract infections (UTIs) could be treated more quickly and efficiently by analyzing urine with a DNA sequencing device the size of a USB stick (see image), according to research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). Researchers used a new device called MinION to perform nanopore sequencing to characterize bacteria from urine samples four times more quickly than can be done using traditional culture methods. The new method can also detect antibiotic resistance, allowing patients to be treated more effectively and improving stewardship of diminishing antibiotic reserves. The findings will be unveiled today, Saturday, September 19, 2015, at an international four-day medical conference in San Diego, California, run jointly by the American Society for Microbiology's Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC). The pertinent presentation is titled “MinION Nanopore Sequencing to Identify Pathogens and Resistance Genes Directly from Urine Specimens” and will be presented by Katarzyna Schmidt and Dr. Justin O'Grady, both of the UEA. Professor David Livermore, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said: "Urinary tract infections are among the most common reasons for prescribing antibiotics. Most are mild and only affect the lower urinary tract, but a few are more troublesome. These 'ascending' UTIs cause a growing burden of hospitalizations, mostly of elderly patients.” "At worst, infection spills into the bloodstream, leading to a condition called urosepsis, which can be fatal. There were more than 30,000 cases of Escherichia coli bloodstream infection recorded in England in 2014, mostly with a urinary origin. "Antibiotics are vital, especially if bacteria have entered the bloodstream, and must be given urgently.
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