Rapid identification of health care–associated infections with an integrated fluorescence anisotropy system

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Science Advances  06 May 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 5, e1600300
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600300


Health care–associated infections (HAIs) and drug-resistant pathogens have become a major health care issue with millions of reported cases every year. Advanced diagnostics would allow clinicians to more quickly determine the most effective treatment, reduce the nonspecific use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials, and facilitate enrollment in new antibiotic treatments. We present a new integrated system, polarization anisotropy diagnostics (PAD), for rapid detection of HAI pathogens. The PAD uses changes of fluorescence anisotropy when detection probes recognize target bacterial nucleic acids. The technology is inherently robust against environmental noise and economically scalable for parallel measurements. The assay is fast (2 hours) and performed on-site in a single-tube format. When applied to clinical samples obtained from interventional procedures, the PAD determined the overall bacterial burden, differentiated HAI bacterial species, and identified drug resistance and virulence status. The PAD system holds promise as a powerful tool for near-patient, rapid HAI testing.

  • biosensors
  • fluorescence anisotropy
  • healthcare-associated infections
  • antimicrobials
  • antibiotics
  • drug resistance
  • superbugs
  • nanotechnology
  • nucleic acid testing

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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