Fast superbug test can identify staph infection within hours

Summary:Superbug test just got super fast.

Usually culturing a staph bacterium can take days, but scientists have made a rapid test for superbugs that works in just hours.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have made a test that can identify infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus super fast.

The test uses mass spectrometry to figure out how many S. aureus organisms there are. The scientists say identifying infections caused by staph is important -- especially since an infection can cause a serious infection (or lead to a chronic disease).

The CDC's Jon Rees said:

“An exciting aspect of this phage method is that with small modifications to the procedures, resistance and susceptibility to a number of different antibiotics can be determined in addition to bacterial identification.”

Fast is important. The rapid superbug test will cut out interpretation and some lab labor. Though, it looks like this test is still in the prototype stage.

Rapid tests are really important in fighting infectious diseases. You may remember when a DNA sequencing test made by Ion Torrent helped German authorities helped trace the source of the deadly outbreak of Escherichia coli in Europe.

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech,, and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado... Full Bio

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