Testing patterns of gene expression to tell virus from bacterial infections

If you have a little kid, you know the drill.

Your child develops a nasty fever, but no one’s really sure what’s making him sick. Most likely, he has a virus that will run its course. He may have a scary bacterial infection that requires treatment, but results of tests to confirm this won’t come back for a day or so.  So to be safe, your pediatrician prescribes antibiotics — even though they won’t help fight a virus and even though overuse of antibiotic drugs has led to the evolution of drug-resistant superbugs.

But someday soon, researchers said Monday, it may be easier to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use: Physicians may soon be able to determine if an infection is viral or bacterial by looking at which genes are turned on and off in a patient’s cells.

Read the full article here: Is my kid’s infection viral or bacterial? Test may offer clues

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