New test determines antibiotic susceptibility in less than 30 minutes

A diagnostic test for urinary tract infections, that affect 100 million women annually, could be valuable in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

Urine in test tube

A lack of point-of-care diagnostic tests makes it challenging to select an effective antibiotic to treat bacterial infection and contributes to increasing antimicrobial resistance.

In a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (online, 22 August 2017), researchers explored the efficacy of a microfluidic chip to test antibiotic susceptibility of bacteria causing urinary tract infection (UTI)[1]

By measuring the growth rate for individual bacterial cells, they were able to distinguish the biological response to nine different antibiotics in 10 minutes. And using 49 uropathogenic Escherichia coli isolates, with known ciprofloxacin resistance or susceptibility, the method was able to correctly determine susceptibility with 100% accuracy within 10 minutes of loading the microfluidic chip.

The researchers said, given that the overall time from loading the sample to readout is less than 30 minutes, the findings show a point-of-care test to guide UTI treatment could be developed.


[1] Baltekin O, Boucharin A, Tano E, et al. Antibiotic susceptibility testing in less than 30 min using direct single-cell imaging. PNAS 2017; 114: 9170–9175. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708558114

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, October 2017, Vol 9, No 10;():DOI:10.1211/PJ.2017.20203664