New approaches to diagnosing bacterial infections may one day allow the identification of pathogens and their antibiotic susceptibility in a matter of hours or minutes.
To speed the diagnosis of infections, scientists are developing simple and inexpensive tests based on biosensors that convert the molecular recognition of a target molecule into signals that can be measured optically, electrically, mechanically, or magnetically. Well-known examples of commonly used biosensor-based assays include home pregnancy tests and handheld glucose monitors. Biosensor technologies for infectious diseases still need to clear significant regulatory hurdles before they can be used clinically, but they already show promise as portable and easy-to-use tools to rapidly identify a variety of pathogenic bacteria and to inform effective treatments. The Scientist looks at three such technologies under development.
The Sooner, The Better