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Quick Test Tells Viral and Bacterial Infections Apart

Quick Test Tells Viral and Bacterial Infections Apart

August 3, 2011

Medical Research

According to a BGU study published in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry, it is now possible to distinguish a patient’s infection as either viral or bacterial by adding luminol to a blood sample and measuring the glow.

Luminol is a luminescent chemical substance used in crime scenes to locate traces of blood.

This new test, developed by BGU researchers, accurately distinguishes between bacterial and viral infections in as little as five hours. Currently tests take 24 to 48 hours and are not always accurate enough for a clear-cut diagnosis.

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to provide patient relief before the test comes back, without waiting for the results. Treating viral infections with antibiotics is ineffective and contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance, allergic reactions, toxicity and greater healthcare costs.

Hear more about this test on Scientific American’s 60-Second Science Podcast>>