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New Test Detects Traces of Superbugs

By on July 20, 2015

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have developed a new DNA-based method of testing for pathogens they claim is thousands of times more powerful than similar tests because it operates on a molecular level, which will allow them to detect superbugs faster than they previously could.

The test does not involve complicated equipment and will eventually be adapted to a paper surface, eliminating the need for lab equipment. This could allow physicians to quickly run the tests themselves.

“The method we have developed allows us to detect targets at levels that are unprecedented,” John Brennan, director of McMaster University’s Biointerfaces Institute, said in a press release. “The test has the best sensitivity ever reported for a detection system of this kind — it is as much as 10,000 times more sensitive than other detection systems.”

The device is made of DNA that can be switched on by specifically selected molecules, such as those of a virus or bacteria. This causes a reaction indicating the presence of the molecules that is easily detected. This molecular interaction will make it easier to detect superbugs such as hepatitis C, C. difficile and MRSA at lower levels than other tests.

Researchers at McMaster previously developed paper-based tests that can detect infections and contamination. They plan to adapt the new DNA-based testing device to the paper format in order to make the testing method easier to use nearly anywhere, such as physician’s offices.


This article courtesy of UPI and McMaster University.