New blood-processing method by Sidra Medicine identifies infections faster

Doha: Blood diseases such as sepsis can be swiftly identified as microbiologists at Sidra Medicine has discovered a new blood processing procedure. It is based on time-of-flight mass spectrometry with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI-TOF MS).

Children hospitalised to Sidra Medicine are currently undergoing quick testing for blood infections using the newly established method. The turnaround time for bacterial and fungal identification has been reduced from days to minutes, allowing the hospital to begin antimicrobial therapy and infection control measures earlier.

“Sepsis, which is caused by harmful bacteria, can be life-threatening unless immediately treated with appropriate antibiotics. Our study demonstrated outstanding performance and early improvement in the management of pediatric bloodstream infections. The procedure is also very cost-effective compared to other methodologies being used globally,” said senior attending physician in Microbiology, Dr Andrés Pérez-López.

“We also believe that the new processing method has a bi-directional benefit. It will help physicians effectively prescribe antibiotics to pediatric patients before the standard culture and antibiotic susceptibility test results are available. Also, being on an antibiotic that is more effective, will help patients recover early. Secondly, rapid identification may also help reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage in patients with insignificant, positive blood cultures,” Dr Pérez-López added.

In addition to Dr Pérez-López, Sidra Medicine’s microbiology team included senior technologist Nazik Elamin, technologists Rhanty Nabor and Sarah Dumindin, senior attending physician Dianne Roscoe, clinical microbiologist Mohammad Rubayet Hasan, Operations Manager Mohammed Suleiman, and Division Chief Dr Patrick Tang. Microbiology Spectrum, a major microbiology publication, published the methodology.

“I am really proud of how our team continually innovates and seeks to improve patient care outcomes at Sidra Medicine. Rapid identification methods like the MALDI-TOF MS can quickly save lives, because it is inexpensive, user-friendly, and easily integrated into a standard laboratory workflow. This has led other hospitals in Qatar to implement the new methodology as well. With the study now being published, we hope it will also encourage other hospitals to take up the methodology,” said Division Chief of Microbiology at Sidra Medicine, Dr Patrick Tang.

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