University adopts system to fast-track lab cultures

Augusta, Ga. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million people in the US become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a result of these infections. Part of the reason for such a dramatic increase in cases is the overuse of preemptive antibiotic treatments used as a “catch-all” since current lab systems can take 24-48 hours to determine the presence of bloodstream infections.

University Hospital is extremely proud and excited to be the first hospital in America to clinically adopt a new lab system that can identify bacteria or yeast from a positive blood culture in approximately 1.5 hours, thereby vastly reducing the time needed to start an appropriate treatment.

The Pheno Test BC Kit, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 23, works by measuring the similarity of the infection-causing organism’s genetic material to DNA known to be unique to specific bacteria or yeast. Once the organism is identified, it is mixed with antibiotics and the growth of the bacteria is measured by time-lapse images. If the organism does not grow when the antibiotic is present, this means that an antibiotic can possibly be used for treatment.

University Hospital partnership with Accelerate Diagnostics in Tucson, Ariz., is just the latest step in University’s continued commitment to the appropriate use of antibiotics within our community.