In recent DNA testing news, Dr. Storch of Washington University has developed a test to determine the nature of infectious fevers, identifying them as either viral or bacterial in nature. This discovery will lead to medical professionals begin able to more appropriate prescribe correct medications to combat infections.
Fevers are the most common manifest symptom of an infection; however up until Dr. Storch’s research, it was extremely difficult to determine if the fever was the result of a bacterial or viral infection. Gregory Storch, a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, along with his colleagues, has developed a simple test to measure gene activity in children to determine the nature of infectious fevers. Using this gene test, Dr. Storch was able to distinguish the difference between bacteria fevers and those caused by viruses.
When a person has a fever, the activity of hundreds of genes change as the immune system responds to the infection. By gauging the response of 18 specific genes, Dr. Storch and his team could correctly distinguish between bacterial and viral infections with 90% confidence in the results. Dr. Storch is also working on identifying which microbes caused the viral infection, which can lead to further specific diagnosis and targeted treatment options.
This is great news for appropriately treating and caring for different types of infections. The treatment for bacterial and viral infections is vastly different and use different medicines as they interact differently with the body and the body reacts to them differently. This distinction is difficult for medical professionals to distinguish, however, as the symptoms to both are nearly identical. Upon completion and mass availability of Dr. Storch’s test, medical professionals will be able to reduce the amount of antibiotic prescribed to patients.
DNA Services of America does not specifically provide medical testing; however one of their core specialties is forensic DNA testing. The application of Dr. Storch’s test could help lead police and other law enforcement agencies to determine cases of wrongful death from medical malpractice. Currently, Dr. Storch’s technique isn’t ready or available for clinical testing, but Storch is working on providing the test as soon as he is able.