Podcast Provides Diagnostic Testing Information for MRSA “Superbugs”

May 25, 2011

MRSA Bacteria. Photo Credit: CDC

A Podcast about a new blood test for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now available through the Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions (CG/CS) project of the ACS Chemistry for Life Organization.

GCCS is a project launched in 2008 “to identify the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges, and explore the solutions emerging from chemistry.”

The new MRSA test podcast, released on May 23, 2011, is about a new blood test that can quickly detect MRSA.

MRSA started off as a threat mainly in hospitals and nursing homes among patients with open wounds, urinary catheters, and weakened immune systems. Older people and children were frequent victims. But these infections, which shrug off many of the most powerful traditional antibiotics, are now occurring in locker rooms, gyms and other settings in the general community. And they are striking healthy people. MSRA strikes at least 280,000 people in the United States alone every year. Almost 20,000 of those patients die. The cost of treating a single case often exceeds $20,000.

Diagnosing MSRA infections quickly is important, so that treatment can begin immediately with the right antibiotic. Chemist Kent Voorhees, Ph.D., who has been in the news for an important advance in that direction, explains:

“A correct diagnosis is critical so that physicians can start the right treatment as soon as possible and so they can take proper precautions to prevent the spread of an infection to other patients and to healthcare workers.”

The test was developed by a company called MicroPhage. It takes only five hours to detect MRSA as compared to current methods taking up to three days. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2011. The test will be available later this summer.

Visit the ACS Chemistry for Life website to listen to the podcast or download the transcript.

Related HAI Focus Article: FDA Clears Test to Diagnose and Distinguish MRSA and MSSA.

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