Molecular Testing and Its Connection to Discovering Antibiotic Resistance
Preemptive lab results could help patients get faster, more effective treatment.
By Colleen Travers
Antibiotic resistance, which most commonly occurs due to misuse and overuse of certain antibiotics that then cause bacteria to alter as a response to the medication is becoming a major public health and safety issue. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than two million people are ill every year with an antibiotic-resistant infection, and from those ill an estimated 23,000 die as a result.
The list of antibiotic-resistant infections is growing, from pneumonia, to foodborne diseases like salmonella, and tuberculosis among others. The CDC states that other infections like group A streptococcus and group B streptococcus are in danger to becoming resistant to antibiotics in the near future, making it more crucial than ever for physicians to help prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance in their patients. This is where molecular testing can help.
Molecular testing is a way to highlight resistance markers to avoid ineffective antibiotics and offer precision treatment among patients. By conducting a simple laboratory test that checks for specific genes, proteins, and molecules through a swab sample, a physician is able to see how an antibiotic will interact with a patient and treat an infection before prescribing it. Not only does this anticipate the immune system’s response, it can help detect if any antibiotics that may be prescribed will be unsuccessful for the patient and thus increase the possibility of building a resistance in the body. Molecular testing can also help the patient recover quicker and in the long run be more cost effective for them. That’s because the results from a molecular test can help control medication usage, so the patient doesn’t have to go through trying and purchasing several rounds of different antibiotics to treat one infection on top of paying for additional doctor’s visits.
By using molecular testing to discover antibiotic resistance in patients, physicians are also given the opportunity to help educate their patients on how to safely use antibiotics. For instance, many people assume that their body builds up the resistance to certain medications. By showing them with data the bacteria in the body alters itself in order to survive the use of antibiotics patients can begin to understand the correlation, which can lead them to take prescriptions only as needed (such as only for specific infections and not for viruses like a cold) to reduce their chances of developing resistance going forward.
For more information on how to use molecular testing as part of your practice based on medical necessity visit ASAP Lab to learn more about resistance markers that help avoid ineffective antibiotics, along with a comprehensive list of all its testing services.