Robin Patel, M.D., Chair of the Division of Clinical Microbiology in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was recently featured in Clinical Laboratory News about antibiotic-resistant infections and shortening the time to identify organisms and resistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control, around “2 million Americans contract and 23,000 die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections.” Quick and accurate laboratory testing plays a vital role in reducing antimicrobial resistance.
“We’ve only been using antibiotics in clinical practice since the 1940s,” Dr. Patel said. “We’re putting a lot of pressure on bacteria, and they’re just doing what they do naturally when they evolve to be resistant. The more you expose the bacteria to antibiotics, the more they pull out their resistance mechanisms.”
Reducing the identification time of bacteria using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry helps provide timely information to patients. “Matching is so precise that it can tell you exactly what that organism is and can tell you not just the name of the bacterium but whether it’s a yeast and the name of the yeast—with one technology,” Dr. Patel said. While it takes another day to identify the antibiotic resistance to that specific bacteria, having insight into the type of bacteria will help guide the next steps for the patient.
Read the full article in Clinical Laboratory News.