News Headlines Article

New Diagnostic Tools Emerge in War Against Superbugs
The Wall Street Journal

A new front is emerging in the fight against antibiotic-resistant superbugs — one that doesn’t involve the development of new drugs.

Companies are racing to develop diagnostic technologies that can be used by hospitals and clinics to pinpoint the cause of common infections quickly. That should cut down on the unnecessary prescription of antibiotics, a major driver of drug-resistance in bacteria.

Traditional diagnostic testing via specialist laboratories can take several days to deliver results, so doctors who want to prescribe an immediate remedy often use a patient’s symptoms to guess what is causing an illness. More than a quarter of the time, this leads to antibiotics being prescribed unnecessarily, according to a 2013 study in the U.S. published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. In respiratory infections, two thirds of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary, according to the same study.

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