The Duke test can recognize a specific genetic fingerprint that the body expresses when it’s sick.
In the most recent experiment, 102 subjects with viral and bacterial infections, as well as healthy control patients, arrived at a hospital emergency room and were given the blood test. With about 90 percent accuracy, the test returned the proper diagnosis in just 12 hours.
Dr. Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, also of Duke’s Genome Institute, told Healthline that the test results were confirmed using traditional lab tests, which take much longer and are far more labor-intensive. “It was really outstanding from our perspective having an assay [test] that performed so robustly in a real-world setting.”
In larger studies set to begin as early as this flu season, scientists will look at ways of paring down the number of genes the test analyzes and reducing the test’s turnaround time to as little as one hour. “We’d love to have the pregnancy test equivalent to viral infections,” Ginsburg said.
Good news in light of the CDC threat report detailing the big issue posed by antibiotic resistant bacteria. If we can cut down on mis-diagnoses and/or speed up illness diagnoses at large, we can cut down on the over-prescribing of antibiotics and thus help stall the development of more drug-resistant bacteria.