Saturday, 30 January 2016

Software Identifies Drug Resistance from Bacterial Genomes


Scientists have developed an easy-to-use computer program that can quickly analyze bacterial DNA from a patient's infection and predict which antibiotics will work, and which will fail due to drug resistance. The software is currently being trialed in three UK hospitals to see whether it could help speed up diagnosis of drug-resistant infections and enable doctors to better target the prescription of antibiotics.

The Mykrobe Predictor software, developed by Dr. Zamin Iqbal and colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, runs on a standard laptop or tablet without the need for any specialist expertise. The program can analyze the entire genetic code of a bacterium in under 3 minutes, once a bacterial sample has been cultured and its DNA sequenced.

A study on more than 4,500 retrospective patient samples, published in Nature Communications, shows that Mykrobe Predictor accurately detects antibiotic resistance in two life-threatening bacterial infections: Staphylococcus aureus (one form of which causes MRSA) and tuberculosis (TB).

The paper is titled “Rapid antibiotic resistance predictions from genome sequence data for S. aureus and M Tuberculosis.”

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle