Researchers at UBC Okanagan have developed a method for monitoring bacterial responses to antibiotics in healthcare settings.
The new method opens the door to personalized antibiotic therapy for patients. The new sensor can differentiate bacterial growth variations before any visible cues are evident. As a result, the dosage or type of antibiotics can be fine-tuned to combat the specific bacterial infection.
The new technology was developed by assistant professor Mohammad Zarifi and his team at the Okanagan Microelectronics and Gigahertz Application (OMEGA) Lab. They used microwave sensing technology to develop a low-cost, contactless, portable and reusable method to measure antibiotic resistance reliably and quickly.
“Many types of bacteria are continuously evolving to develop resistance to antibiotics. This is a pressing issue for hospitals around the globe, while sensor and diagnosis technology has been slow to adapt,” said Zarifi.
The technology aims to combat drawbacks from existing Antibiotic Susceptibility Tests (AST). Existing AST practices are expensive and can take up to 48 hours to process results, according to a UBCO press release.
“Longer wait times can significantly delay the treatments patients receive, which can lead to further medical complications or even fatalities. This method showcases the requirement for a reliable, rapid and cost-effective detection tool,’’ Zarifi said.
“Our ultimate goal is to reduce inappropriate usage of antibiotics and enhance quality of care for the patients,” added Zarifi. “The more quality tools like this that health-care practitioners have at their disposal, the greater their ability to combat bacteria and viruses.”