Tara deBoer, a UC Berkeley researcher also on the project, has co-founded a company called BioAmp Diagnostics, with the goal of developing commercial diagnostic tests that can be deployed in a number of different clinical settings. Everybody has different needs in the hospital, says deBoer. "Right now we have a lot of designs, but what we are doing is allowing the intended use to define what the design is going to look like. Another focus for future development is to expand the test's efficacy from just generally detecting the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, to actually being able to identify specific strains of bacteria. Take a closer look at the development of the new test in the video below.Drug-resistant infections are a silent pandemic that actually kill more people every year than Zika or Ebola," says Lee Riley, a researcher working on the project. "The faster you can start the right drug, the better the chances of survival or avoiding complications.The simple, yet incredibly clever test works by detecting molecules called beta-lactamases in urine samples. These are specific enzymes produced by antibiotic-resistant bacteria to counter the lethal effects of an antibiotic.Tests to detect beta-lactamases are not new, but in the past they have not been sensitive enough to function as a quick or easy diagnostic tool because beta-lactamases are generally found in such low concentrations that it can take days to evaluate samples in a lab.
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