A new technique could help reduce antibiotic prescribing by predicting which drugs could be effective in fighting bacteria within minutes.
Scientists at the University of Exeter have developed the method, which allows users to see whether a bacterium is likely to respond to antibiotics. The research is currently in early stages of development, and the team hope the miniaturised devices they use for this research could one day be based in clinics, reducing the number of different antibiotics prescribed to patients.
The new technique uses a special microscope and a miniaturised device into which a sample of the bacteria is injected, along with the antibiotic. To date, the team has used the antibiotic ofloxacin, which glows fluorescent under ultraviolet light. Bacteria also glow when the antibiotic is taken up. However, if they remain dark, the antibiotic has no chance of working and killing the bacteria.
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Making bacteria glow
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