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Biotech Innovations
December 11, 2018

Real-Time Visualization of Bacteria in Lungs

JAMA. 2018;320(22):2303. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.18986

A bedside diagnostic approach is needed for mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care who develop new pulmonary infiltrates on chest x-ray and have a differential diagnosis of pneumonia. These patients are regularly given broad-spectrum antibiotics before bacteria culture results are ready, which contributes to overtreatment and antibiotic resistance. In addition, commonly used sampling methods like bronchoalveolar lavage have low specificity and sensitivity.

A new technique aims to visualize gram-negative bacteria in real time in the distal lung, along with other features of infection such as infiltrating inflammatory cells.