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MRSA Test Takes 3 Minutes To Locate Superbug, Study

Update Date: Jan 13, 2016 01:50 PM EST

In just three flat minutes, bacteria resistant to antibiotics can be identified by scientists by the University of Oxford's new test, called Mykrobe Predictor.

This test is run through a device that is as big as a USB stick, using a program analysing the bacteria's genome, to find out which specific antibiotic it is resistant to. The device can then prescribe the accurate treatment for it.

This helps to fight superbugs and also avoids using powerful antibiotics, RT reported.

Currently, It is being employed for the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug. But it can also be used to find the right treatment for tuberculosis and also for bacteria causing other diseases.

"Although this test deals only with TB and MRSA, we expect these methods to be extended to E.coli, pneumonia, gonorrhoea and other STDs," test creator Zamin Iqbal from the Wellcome Trust for Human Genetics at Oxford told Daily Mail.

After a study that worked with 4,500 samples, it was found that The Mykrobe Predictor is 99 percent "accurate" for MRSA and 82 percent "accurate" for tuberculosis. It has been employed for trials in three England hospitals.

Usually, the process involves taking the right antibiotic for an infection, taking and culturing samples and mixing them with drugs in order to test and detect the right one. Using a test that takes a shorter time and is less expensive is more beneficial.

"We can test in minutes and now get an answer on which drugs can be used to treat a TB infection in two weeks, instead of up to 17 weeks which it takes using current technology that has not changed in decades," Iqbal said. 

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