Tiny tech quickly detects antibiotic efficacy

Researchers in Switzerland have developed a matchbox-sized device that can quickly determine a bacterial infection's response to antibiotic treatment.

It can take up to a month to determine whether cultured bacteria for tuberculosis, for instance, are still alive after treatment. The device, which takes only a couple of minutes to produce results, uses a nano-scale lever that vibrates in the presence of bacterial activity, according to an announcement. A laser detects the vibration and translates it into an electrical signal that can be easily read--the absence of a signal indicates there are no live bacteria.

In addition to helping staff in clinics determine whether an antibiotic did the job--especially resistant strains--the method could be useful in determining the effectiveness of chemotherapy, the scientists say.

"This method is fast and accurate. And it can be a precious tool for both doctors looking for the right dosage of antibiotics and for researchers to determine which treatments are the most effective," explains researcher Giovanni Dietler.

In the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Auburn University researchers have turned to biosensors, while another team, including researchers from Harvard, is tracking track antibiotic resistance at the gene level.

To learn more:
- find the announcement

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