Weighing DNA to diagnose infection up to 90% faster

17 Jan 2017

We’re funding a project that’s examining how new technology – which “weighs” the DNA of an infection – can best be used to help patients get faster treatment.

The Iridica platform is cutting-edge new technology that can diagnose infection much more quickly and accurately.

Currently, scientists have to guess what the infection might be before growing it in a petri dish for up to three days. Iridica can give an accurate answer in as little as six hours – up to 90% quicker.

“There has been no technology like this before,” says Dr Mark Wilks (pictured), Clinical Scientist at Barts Health NHS Trust’s Microbiology Department.

“This means we have no framework upon which to base our understanding of the results. Barts Charity’s funding is helping to create that framework and is bringing the wider use of this exciting diagnostic tool that much closer.”

Iridica has already helped a range of patients, from a one-year-old baby to a 67-year-old man whose infections were proving life-threatening but hard to identify.

More research is needed to assess how this new technology can best be used, which is why the work of Dr Wilks and his team is crucial.

The ultimate aim is to give patients the correct treatment sooner, reducing the length of antibiotic courses and shortening a patient’s stay in hospital.

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