A new, quick and accurate test that can distinguish between bacterial and viral infections has been developed by Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The test aids in the diagnosis in as little as five hours, thereby reducing the frequency of unnecessary prescribed antibiotics.
Currently tests take 24 to 48 hours and are not always accurate enough for a clear-cut diagnosis. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to provide patient relief before the test comes back, without waiting for the results.
Now, the BGU group has shown it is possible to distinguish a patient's infection as either viral or bacterial by adding luminol to a blood sample and measuring the glow. Luminol is a luminescent chemical substance used in crime scenes to locate traces of blood.
Their study clearly indicated that white blood cells that protect the body (phagocytes) react differently to viral and bacterial infections and that the glow or "chemiluminescence" (CL) can detect those distinct reactions.
"The method is timesaving, easy to perform and can be commercially available, thus, having predictive diagnostic value and could be implemented in various medical institutions," the researchers said.
The study has been published in the Journal of Analytical Chemistry.