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DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in Covid-19 patients, aiding faster treatment: Study – Times of India

CAMBRIDGE/UK: A staff of scientists and medical doctors from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have developed a DNA test which they declare will quickly identify secondary infections in Covid-19 sufferers, who’ve double the danger of creating pneumonia whereas on air flow.
For sufferers with essentially the most extreme kinds of Covid-19, mechanical air flow is commonly the one strategy to hold them alive, as medical doctors use anti-inflammatory therapies to deal with their infected lungs. However, these sufferers are inclined to additional infections from micro organism and fungi that they might purchase whereas in the hospital, as per the analysis.
A staff of scientists and medical doctors on the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by Professor Gordon Dougan, Dr. Vilas Navapurkar, and Dr. Andrew Conway Morris, have developed a easy DNA test to quickly identify these infections and goal antibiotic therapy as wanted.
The test, developed at Addenbrooke’s hospital in collaboration with Public Health England, provides medical doctors the data they should begin therapy inside hours somewhat than days, tremendous-tuning therapy as required and decreasing the inappropriate use of antibiotics.
This method, based mostly on increased throughput DNA testing, is being rolled out at Cambridge University Hospitals and presents a route in the direction of higher remedies for an infection extra usually. The outcomes are reported in the journal Critical Care.
Patients who want mechanical air flow are at important threat of creating secondary pneumonia whereas they’re in intensive care. These infections are sometimes brought on by antibiotic-resistant micro organism and are onerous to diagnose and wish focused therapy.
“Early on in the pandemic we noticed that Covid-19 patients appeared to be particularly at risk of developing secondary pneumonia, and started using a rapid diagnostic test that we had developed for just such a situation,” mentioned co-creator Dr. Andrew Conway Morris from Cambridge’s Department of Medicine and an intensive care advisor.
Covid-19 sufferers are considered at elevated threat of an infection for a number of causes. Due to the quantity of lung harm, these extreme Covid-19 instances are likely to spend extra time on a ventilator than sufferers with out Covid-19. In addition, many of these sufferers even have a poorly-regulated immune system, the place the immune cells harm the organs, but in addition have impaired anti-microbial features, growing the danger of an infection.
Normally, confirming a pneumonia prognosis is difficult, as bacterial samples from sufferers have to be cultured and grown in a lab, which is time-consuming. The Cambridge test takes another method by detecting the DNA of totally different pathogens, which permits for faster and extra correct testing.
The test makes use of a number of polymerase chain response (PCR) which detects the DNA of the micro organism and can be achieved in round 4 hours, that means there is no such thing as a want to attend for the micro organism to develop.
The test – which was developed with Dr Martin Curran, a specialist in PCR diagnostics from Public Health England’s Cambridge laboratory – runs a number of PCR reactions in parallel, and can concurrently choose up 52 totally different pathogens, which regularly infect the lungs of sufferers in intensive care. At the identical time, it can additionally test for antibiotic resistance.
“We found that although patients with Covid-19 were more likely to develop secondary pneumonia, the bacteria that caused these infections were similar to those in ICU patients without Covid-19. This means that standard antibiotic protocols can be applied to Covid-19 patients,” mentioned lead creator Mailis Maes, additionally from the Department of Medicine.
This is one of the primary occasions that this expertise has been used in routine scientific observe and has now been permitted by the hospital. The researchers anticipate that related approaches would profit sufferers if used extra broadly.

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