The speed and accuracy with which certain tests can tell the difference between bacterial and viral infections, is extremely vital for the patient's recovery. Those common afflictions often have similar symptoms but vastly different treatments - antibiotics work for bacterial infections but not for viruses.
Since current diagnostic methods are both time-consuming and not very accurate, researchers have developed a new test to help doctors rapidly pinpoint the condition - whether it is a bacterial infection or a viral infection.
Robert Marks, professor in biotechnology engineering, and Daria Prilutsky, doctoral student in virology at the Negev Ben-Gurion University, developed a test based on those differences.
Marks and Prilutsky found that the immune systems of patients with bacterial infections behaved differently than the immune systems of patients with viral infections, reports the journal, Analytical Chemistry.
"The method is time-saving, easy to perform and can be commercially available, thus having predictive diagnostic value and could be implemented in various medical institutions as an adjunct to clinical decision making," they said.
If left untreated until results of a throat culture are received, bacterial infections can get worse.
But needlessly giving antibiotics to patients with a viral infection could contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteriam, according to a Ben-Gurion statement.