Hoping to reduce their pain, most people would like to resort to antibiotic to fight against respiratory illness. However, do they really need an antibiotic? The key to this question probably is in your nose. To put it more accurate, it is the mucus in your nose.
A group of proteins have been found to identify if an infection is triggered by virus or bacteria. Antibiotics can only work against bacterial infections instead of viral illnesses. Researchers from Duke Health in Durham, N.C said.
The proteins targeted in the study have been taken from the mucus of inflamed throats and running noses. It turned out that this kind of protein were more able to confirm a viral infection. Thomas Burke, director of technology advancement and the lead author of the study, said that a breakthrough has been made in diagnose infection. They focused on the patients’ response to identify the pathogen someone is infected. Compared to conventional method which only focuses on the infection, the new one is faster and more accurate.
In the study, 88 healthy adults have been infected with a common type of cold or flu virus. They also tested samples from the volunteers' upper respiratory tract. The result has been expectable. Though some participants didn’t get sick, the other people who did had been detected of the certain set of 25 proteins in their fluid sample.
Since this test could be done in a relatively easy and inexpensive way, doctors can use its finding for their patients in the office. Limit the unnecessary use of antibiotics has been the priority among all considerations. The protein targets could benefit doctors who want to treat appropriately towards different individuals in order to prevent the rise of antibiotic resistance.
"The protein targets provide a both safer and faster method for diagnoses of viral infections and rapid screening," said Dr. Christopher Woods, a senior researcher of the study.
"The model could be valuable in many circumstances once the data have been verified, such as rural areas or developing countries with less convenient approach to health care, or even as an tool for airport screening during an outbreak of a particularly threatening flu epidemic ," Woods said.
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