New Blood-based Biomarker To Distinguish Between Bacterial A
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As COVID-19 stands as grim testimony to the damage an infectious disease can cause to human health and welfare, a major challenge in treating such diseases is misdiagnosis, which can lead to trial-and-error treatments, and improper use of antibiotics. Identifying the correct type of infection, is, therefore critical.

A recent study from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has identified a set of molecular biomarkers that can be used in the differential diagnosis of acute bacterial and viral infections. According to an IISc release, these biomarkers are different messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules found in the blood. Differences in their levels can detect and predict with high probability if an infection is viral or bacterial.

First author Sathyabaarathi Ravichandran, Research Associate in the lab of Nagasuma Chandra, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, explained that antibiotics are given even for viral infections in some cases because of misdiagnosis. With current methods, it can take a lot of time to test for bacterial or viral infections. The researchers have developed a test using patient blood transcriptomes and sophisticated computational modelling.

The scientists analysed transcriptomic data of patients from publicly available databases, and samples collected from M.S. Ramaiah Medical College in collaboration with a clinical team and discovered a ten-gene RNA signature in the patients’ blood that is produced in varying quantities for viral and bacterial infections.

A new test can identify whether a blood sample has a bacterial or viral infection, the researchers say. The test could be used in the clinic for diagnosis, monitoring the stage of recovery after infection, and estimating the severity of the infection.

After looking at various viral infections for which transcriptomic data is publicly available, they developed a generic VB10 test score for viral infections. The test scores could differentiate between SARS-CoV-2 infection and common bacterial respiratory infections. The team hopes to begin a trial study to translate the research from the lab to the clinic and expect it to supplement the current COVID-19 diagnosis tests.

Source:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352396421001456
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