How DNA technologies are helping pneumonia patients fight back

The antimicrobial resistance team have been working with researchers from Public Health England and clinicians in the Intensive Care Unit at Cambridge University Hospitals to better understand the different types of pneumonia patients may have and to try and identify if they have an infection faster.

To do this, they are using revolutionary DNA-analysis and sequencing technologies that can help them identify exactly which microbes (if any) are contributing to a patient’s pneumonia. Using these technologies, researchers are now able to screen for around 100 kinds of microbes within hours of a sample being taken from the patient and identify which is the best antibiotic to use. Also some patients look like they are infected but are not and these can be quickly picked up. They can also identify how the patient is responding to the infection and help guide better treatment.

Quick identification of the right microbe will enable researchers to select and develop the right antibiotics to fight infection and prevent the disease from developing in vulnerable patients.

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