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Blood Test Might Help Diagnose Viral Versus Bacterial Infection

Blood Test Might Help Diagnose Viral Versus Bacterial Infection
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FRIDAY, July 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A blood test based on gene responses may help differentiate between bacterial and viral infections, according to a study published July 6 in Science Translational Medicine.

Timothy E. Sweeney, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, and colleagues looked at available data to identify genes with a pattern of activity that changes during an infection.

Prior tests had involved hundreds of genes, said study senior author Purvesh Khatri, Ph.D., of Stanford’s School of Medicine. “We needed a gene signature consisting of far fewer genes for the test to be clinically useful.” The new blood screen, tested on 96 critically ill children in Nepal, requires just seven genes to sort out whether an infection is bacterial or viral, the researchers reported.

Before the new test becomes available to doctors, it must be thoroughly tested in larger studies and incorporated into a device that can give a result within an hour, the study authors noted.

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