Biosensor Can Detect Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs
May 13, 2013 — By Darren Withers
JoVE is out with new research showing how a remarkable biosensor is capable of detecting potentially lethal antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
According to those behind the technology, this development could prove critical in the fight against so-called “superbugs.”
This innovation was made possible through a collaboration between Dr. Vitaly Vodyanoy at Auburn University and the Keesler Air Force Base.
Funding was provided by the United States Air Force.
“Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a serious problem,” Dr. Vodyanoy explains. “It is very important [when treating a patient] to distinguish between normal and resistant bacteria; if you have a case of resistance you have to take special measures to cure it.”
Dr. Vodyanoy’s technology takes advantage of bacteriophages, simple viruses that can target and kill bacteria. A bacteriophage, when combined with specific antibodies, can be used to produce a physical color change in a sample that indicates antibiotic resistance. This technology will be invaluable to clinicians trying to treat patients and disinfect hospital facilities.
In particular, published reports note, this technique takes aim at antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus.
“In our method, we can determine bacterial antibiotic resistance in 10-12 minutes, while other methods take hours,” Dr. Vodyanoy says, according to Newswise. “Our technique is complex and involves many steps and disciplines. It is very difficult to visualize when you read a paper, and we felt it would be very beneficial and educational to publish [in JoVE]. We are interested in someone else reproducing our results; this technology can be used on a larger scale and for antibiotic resistance other than Staphylococcus.”
To watch a video presentation of the technology and its potential, click here.