It’s natural for us to reach for some sort of antibiotic whenever we feel the slightest symptoms of a cold. However, it has been proven that antibiotics could actually be harmful to our health.
Each year, more than two million people in the United States develop drug-resistant infections, and of these two million people, at least 23,000 die from these infections. This antibiotic resistance is when microbes acquire genetic mutation making it resistant to anti-bacterial agents, such as antibiotics.
The problem arises when doctors prescribe patients with a drug but receive lab results confirming the doctor’s diagnosis correct a whole day or two after the patient starts to take the drug. During this long waiting period, the patient would end up taking too many unnecessary antibiotics, building up antibiotic resistance.
It would be nice to be able to prevent this antibiotic resistance, and that is what a research lab at Seoul National University has been focused on developing. The team has been developing faster tests that would allow doctors to take bacterial samples and observe the images of the cells for the specific changes in the structure. This has been done by immobilizing single bacterial cells, and the development of a microfluidic chip that creates an ideal environment for the survival of bacteria. These methods provide environments for a better diagnosis.
These enhanced images and careful observation would lead to a much better diagnosis, and reduce the delay that occurs after a doctor’s initial prescription. To prevent our resistance to where treatments will no longer be effective, these new methods will allow us to receive definite, effective treatments in a timely fashion.
Citation: Maron, Dina. "A Faster Way to Diagnose Antibiotic Resistance." Scientific American Global RSS. Web. 8. Feb. 2016.
Yustina Kang (Group 2)