Smartphones may soon help in testing antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are posing a severe threat to global public health. In particular, they are becoming more common in bacterial pathogens responsible for high-mortality diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and sepsis.
Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US developed a simple and inexpensive smartphone attachment that can conduct automated antimicrobial susceptibility testing.Read more ↓
“This work is extremely important and timely, given that drug-resistant bacteria are increasingly becoming a global threat rendering many of our first-line antibiotics ineffective,” said Aydogan Ozcan, from the UCLA.
The device connects to a smartphone and has a plate that can hold up to 96 wells for testing.
An array of LEDs illuminates the sample and then the phone’s camera is used to sense small changes in light transmission of each well containing a different dose selected from a panel of antibiotics.
Images are sent to a server to automatically perform antimicrobial susceptibility testing and the results are returned to the smartphone in about one minute.
The researchers then tested the device in clinical settings at UCLA. They used special plates prepared with 17 different antibiotics targeting Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria containing highly resistant antimicrobial profiles.
During the clinical tests, they used 78 samples from patients. Their results showed that the mobile-phone-based reader meets the FDA-defined criteria for laboratory testing, with a detection accuracy of 98.2 per cent.
The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.