New high-tech equipment in Grand River Hospital's microbiology lab is speeding up identification of infections to get patients on the best treatment faster. The Kitchener hospital is already making use of a biotyper that cuts identification times of various pathogens by at least a day, and it's readying a new automated system for preparing specimens for analysis.
Faster results mean doctors "can treat more appropriately sooner," said Carol Ellis, senior medical laboratory technologist. It's also a boon for the busy microbiology lab, which tests nearly 165,000 specimens every year. Most organisms isolated from patient specimens take 24 to 48 hours to grow on a culture plate. Before the new machine, an additional 24 hours or more would be needed for identification. "It's the one machine I would never give back," Ellis said.
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For the first time, researchers from Imperial College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have tested the new antibiotic, closthioamide, on gonorrhoea samples in the laboratory. The results were published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
The researchers tested 149 samples of N. gonorrhoeae from hospital patients with infections in the throat, urethra, cervix and rectum. They found that at very low amounts (≤ 0.125mg/L), closthioamide was effective against 146 of 149 samples taken from patients, and against all of the samples provided by the World Health Organization, which were known to be resistant to other antibiotics.
Although still yet to be tested on animals and humans, the researchers say the antibiotic could be an exciting new step in the fight against the disease. Dr John Heap, lead author, said: "The imminent threat of untreatable antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases, including gonorrhoea, is a global problem, for which we urgently need new antibiotics. This new finding might help us take the lead in the arms race against antimicrobial resistance."