Norwich – Researchers from the University of Anglia developed a DNA sequencing device the size of a USB stick called MinION to treat Urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The MinION functions by performing nanopore sequencing to characterize bacteria from urine samples four times more quickly than using traditional methods of culturing bacteria. The technology could lead to faster treatment and better use of antibiotics.

Credit: Cool Things

MinION so far can only detect the bacteria in heavily infected urine to provide a DNA sequence in just 12 hours, according to Dr. Justin O’Grady, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School to EurekAlert. This is a quarter of the time needed for conventional microbiology.

O’Grady also explained antibiotics are vital when fighting bacteria and must be given urgently, but unfortunately it takes two days to grow the bacteria in the lab and test which antibiotics kill them, so as a result doctors must prescribe a broad range of antibiotics, targeting the bacteria most likely to be responsible, and then adjust treatment once the lab results come through. This generates antibiotic resistance which in some cases can be fatal.

“Results like these will make it possible to refine a patient’s treatment much earlier, and that’s good for the patient, who gets the ‘right’ antibiotic, and for society, which can better manage or ‘steward’ it’s limited supply of antibiotics” said O’Grady in EurekAlert.

The findings will be unveiled today at an international four-day medical conference in San Diego, run jointly by the American Society for Microbiology’s Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC).

Source: EurekAlert