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New technology detects infections within hours

September 12, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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Infections are a leading cause of readmissions and often a deadly threat to long-term care residents. Detecting the cause of these infections as soon as possible is critical.

A recent study presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Washington, D.C. showed that a new testing technology can detect infections faster and reduce hospital stays by up to eight days.

The RApid Diagnosis of Infections in the CriticAlly IlL (RADICAL) study used the Polymerase chain reaction/Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (PCR/ESI-MS) technology developed by Abbott. Results of this study showed that this new technology was able to identify the source of an infection, such as a bacteria, virus or fungi, within hours. 

In some cases this test was able to detect an infection even when blood cultures came back negative.

In a press release announcing the results of the study, David J. Ecker, PhD, divisional vice president of R&D for Abbott's Ibis Biosciences business, said, "When a critically ill person enters the hospital with a suspected infection, clinicians try to determine the cause using tests that may take days to weeks. This can lead to significant delays in appropriate treatment and extended hospital stays. Abbott's new technology is designed to identify infections rapidly, without culture, and provide clinicians with information to quickly prescribe the most effective treatment."