A team of engineers has created a small device capable of quickly detecting harmful bacteria in the blood, allowing healthcare professionals to identify the cause of potentially deadly infections.
It is a known fear and a growing concern in the scientific community: antibiotic-resistant bacteria – or superbugs – are a problem that researchers have long tried to mitigate.
Now, a team of engineers at Rutgers University in the United States has developed a cheap, transparent, miniature, multiplexed device to quickly detect harmful bacteria in the blood. In addition, this new device allows healthcare professionals to identify the cause of potentially deadly infections.
According to the Tech Explorist, the instrument quickly isolates, recovers and concentrates target bacteria from body fluids. Then it filters out particles and bacteria, capturing about 86% of them.
In experiments carried out with pig blood, the device, which contains magnetic spheres, was able to efficiently capture, concentrate and recover Escherichia coli (E. coli) from bacterial suspension and plasma. Among the magnetic spheres there are small voids whose function is to physically isolate the bacteria in the device.
"Rapid identification of drug-resistant bacteria allows healthcare professionals to prescribe the right drugs, increasing the likelihood of survival," said co-author Ruo-Qian (Roger) Wang, professor in the University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Rutgers-New Brunswick.
In addition to being inexpensive, this new device is very easy to manufacture and work with, features that make it ideal for detecting disease-causing organisms in laboratories and healthcare facilities. The scientific article with the results was published recently at ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.