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MSU saving lives with new bacteria detection

Brett Etchebarne

A Michigan State University researcher has developed a new way to detect bacteria, which will hopefully help both physicians and their patients.

Brett Etchebarne, an assistant professor of emergency medicine in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, created a diagnostic system which cuts the time to identify dangerous bacteria from days to hours.

Etchebarne’s test is called In-Dx and has been in clinical trial for more than a year. The trials boast an 85 percent accuracy rate in identifying the exact types of bacteria in a sample. In-Dx has been found to be most accurate when testing urine and wound samples.

Sepsis, a deadly infection that can occur in hospitalized patients, is one of the particular problems Etchebarne’s research has focused on. If sepsis is left unnoticed, patients may have only hours to live. This makes a quick diagnosis vital.

In-Dx works by collecting a sample concentrating it into a small amount. Heat is applied, which breaks down the sample cells. This sample is then placed into the In-Dx testing panel and after 20 minutes of incubation, a positive sample will change color—revealing the offending organism.

Working with Etchebarne are Mary Hughes, chairperson of MSU’s Osteopathic Medical Specialties, and Jim Tiedje in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. The Sparrow Health System and McLaren Greater Lansing hospitals have also contributed. 

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