AUG 23, 2021 1:00 PM PDT

New Sensor Helps Determine How Bacteria Will Respond to Antibiotics

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

Researchers at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan have developed a new microwave sensor that can quickly gather detailed data about how bacteria grow, allowing them to measure with a greater degree of specificity whether bacteria will be susceptible to antibiotics. 

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers developed a contactless planar microwave resonator sensor designed as an antibiotic susceptibility test (AST). The sensor uses microwaves to detect very precise changes in bacterial growth when in contact with different concentrations of antibiotics, changes that often go unnoticed to the naked eye. The microwave uses a split ring microwave resonator to detect charged particles released by bacteria when exposed to antibiotics, allowing for a more precise understanding of how bacteria respond to antibiotics. The specificity of the sensor may help doctors make more effective, accurate, and responsible decisions when it comes to treating patients with antibiotics.

Researchers noted that existing AST methods stand to be improved because of “the inadequacy of current standards in early detection of bacterial response to antibiotics and affordability of contemporarily used methods.” Previous research also indicates that the threat of antibiotic resistance necessitates new AST technologies that are minimally invasive and rapid (able to provide susceptibility information within the hour). 

The rise in antibiotic resistance, specifically, is one of the most pressing concerns that the microwave sensor may help address. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that nearly 3 million people globally get an antibiotic-resistant infection each year. The research team at British Columbia note that the incorrect or inappropriate use of an antibiotic may be partly to blame for the rise in antibiotic resistance. And despite the need for new tools to combat the incorrect use of antibiotics, technology has not kept pace. As a result, the antibiotics prescribed for an infection either come too late or are not the correct kind for the bacteria causing infection. 

The research team is considering ways to integrate artificial intelligence into their program, with the goal of improving the speed and effectiveness of their sensor. Either way, the new sensor may offer a more efficient and accurate way of testing for antibiotic susceptibility, improving patient outcomes and reducing the rate of bacterial infections that become treatment-resistant.

Sources: Medgaget; Scientific Reports; Diagnostics

About the Author
Professional Writing
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
You May Also Like
OCT 29, 2022
Technology
Making EVs More Enticing for Drivers
OCT 29, 2022
Making EVs More Enticing for Drivers
In a recent study published in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transport Systems, a pair of researchers from North Caro ...
NOV 12, 2022
Earth & The Environment
45,000-Year-Old Human DNA Divulges Human Evolution Secrets
NOV 12, 2022
45,000-Year-Old Human DNA Divulges Human Evolution Secrets
In a recent study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, an international team of researchers led by the Universit ...
NOV 14, 2022
Cancer
Breast Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise as it Enters Phase 2 Trial
NOV 14, 2022
Breast Cancer Vaccine Shows Promise as it Enters Phase 2 Trial
About 20% of breast cancers exhibit elevated levels of a protein known as HER2.  You may have heard the classifier ...
DEC 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
DEC 02, 2022
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, an international team of researchers led by the Albert Einstein ...
NOV 26, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Could We Find Life in Caves Off Earth?
NOV 26, 2022
Could We Find Life in Caves Off Earth?
In two connected studies published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, “Fundamental Science and Engin ...
NOV 23, 2022
Technology
Hyperthermic Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
NOV 23, 2022
Hyperthermic Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
Hyperthermia (excess heats) refers to the use of high temperatures to treat cancer. When used to treat tumors locally, h ...
Loading Comments...