Scientific research requires constant innovation – that is why we propose a new perspective for better diagnostics in infectious disease.
Pathogenic microbes have plagued the world as long as there has been life. Fortunately, one of the defining characteristics of humanity has been the search for knowledge and the creation of progressive tools – especially for better diagnostics in infectious disease research.
Even as far back as several thousand years ago, humans developed natural antimicrobial agents to combat infectious diseases. This occurred without the means of understanding microscopic life. Though their awareness of pathogens was limited to the symptoms of illness, we still find use of their simple tinctures and treatments in many holistic practices used today.
But modern scientific advancements have turned our understanding of what causes infectious disease on its head. Dictated by microscopic organisms that invade our systems, innovative methods have been used to study and combat a wide range of pathogens.
Now, some of the obstacles we face are of our own consequences.
Man-Made Problems, Man-Made Solutions
For health practitioners, innovation is at every door. New equipment and better tools are constantly being introduced to advance modern medicine. From new surgical sutures to precision instruments – healthcare systems are consistently evolving to better the treatment and the lives of patients.
In many ways, science has far surpassed what we could imagine. Yet some fields are forced to use antiquated technology. Interestingly, it’s these areas termed ‘sufficient’ that hold back society’s potential to overcome new health challenges created by our own hands.
Behind closed doors, the diagnostic labs analyzing patient samples are rooted, using the same technology trusted for the last 50 years. Although ‘trusty and true,’ they lack the luster, capability, and speed of newer technology. What may seem like a well-oiled machine is actually a breeding ground for the potential misuse of patient results and care.
This is best exemplified by the increasing obstacle of antibiotic resistance. The typical lab analyses used to identify infectious pathogens can sometimes require 7-14 days before results are posted. This significantly delays the diagnosis given by care providers to patients and can result in the prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics as a first line of treatment. In many of these cases, their use may be sufficient to eradicate an infection, but it entails two different caveats: the initial infection may be wiped out, along with a significant number of commensal microbes used to support and promote a healthier internal system – or its use fails to eradicate the pathogenic bacteria and leaves the patient at risk until their results more accurately depict which microbe is to blame.
In addition to these two issues, studies have shown that over-prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics has been the leading cause of antibiotic resistance. This method to treat infectious diseases has led to the development of highly resistant microbial strains that are increasingly difficult to combat. Examples of these highly resistant strains include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
Consequently, it’s this significant issue that supported the development of Integrity Laboratories. We believed that healthcare systems could find a greater resolution to infectious disease simply by increasing their access to advanced diagnostic technology.
Increased precision and faster result turnaround could mean the difference between life and death in infectious disease treatment. In coronavirus cases, we have seen just how quickly patients can experience changes in symptoms and severity. Giving a patient access to their results within6 hours rather than several days – or weeks – empowers the patient with greater therapeutic potential. With infectious disease, hours and days could translate to years of a patient’s life.