When Not All Works: Determining Antibiotic Susceptibility

The World Health Organization says: “Antibiotic resistance of bacteria is increasing to alarmingly high levels around the world.” In such conditions, even “banal” otitis media or tonsillitis can acquire a protracted, complicated course, not to mention the risk of potentially fatal infections. How to find out which drug is effective against “own” pathogenic flora? And which analysis should you choose?

“Classic” way
Some representatives of the bacterial flora have an amazing ability to mutate. Bacteria, which yesterday were sensitive to simple penicillin, today “do not respond” to much more “advanced” antibiotics.

Therefore, in modern medicine, the treatment of bacterial processes without understanding the characteristics of the pathogen seems to be a “occupation” dubious and unpromising. At best, the inflammation will simply “subside” for a short time, and at worst – it will develop to life-threatening proportions.

This situation is especially dangerous in relation to surgical patients, newborns and people with weakened immunity, as well as those for whom taking antibiotics has become the norm.

Microbiological methods for identifying pathogens have long been used by medicine around the world, and modern analyzers have made this process faster and more efficient.

So, sowing on flora with determination of sensitivity to antibiotics allows not only to “recognize” bacteria, but also to check their sensitivity to the standard (6-8) or extended (up to 12) spectrum of antibiotics.

As a result, not only the type of bacteria will be indicated, but also their number and reaction to the drug:

S – sensitive – the drug is effective,
I – doubtful – the drug has weak activity against the pathogen,
R – resistant – the drug is “useless” in relation to this microflora.
However, the analysis also has disadvantages:

duration of implementation – up to 7 days, which limits the appointment of the “target” drug at the very beginning of inflammation;
the inability to determine the minimum effective “dose” of the drug.New generation
The medical need for fast and high-quality microbiological research “pushed” science towards the creation of the MALDI-TOF MC method, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002.

The method is based on the identification of the unique protein composition of bacteria, which is a kind of “fingerprint

“. Its accuracy reaches 98%. And the analyzer contains information on more than 750 types of clinically significant microorganisms, with the ability to “update the database”.

In addition, the use of MALDI-TOF MC identification as part of complex studies allows you to check the sensitivity of microflora to 18-20 drugs, against the maximum possible 12 in previous “generations” of crops. As a result of the analysis, it is now possible to see not only the effectiveness of the antibiotic, but also to select the minimum effective dose of the drug according to the protocol.

The method is fully automated, which excludes the influence of the human factor on the result. And the study is ready for a maximum of 4 days.

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