Molecular Infection Disease Testing
To properly understand the field of Molecular Infectious Disease Testing, it is first important to understand the human relationship to bacteria. Bacteria, as a whole, are often seen as a negative part of our world, but that is not accurate. In fact, most bacteria are essential to the existence of all life on the planet. The overall percentage of bacteria that is thought to be harmful to humans, or pathogenic, is less than 1%. Many bacteria help you digest food, produce essential vitamins, prevent disease and even help your overall mental health and wellness. It is now widely accepted that 90% of the serotonin, the commonly known “happy hormone,” in your body is produced by bacteria in your stomach and intestines. In other words, having the right mixture of bacteria in and on your body is essential to your health.
Currently, while you are reading this, you exist as a mass of cells. Nerve cells, called neurons, are sending the images of these words to your brain to interpret. Muscle cells are moving your eyes along the page and also holding your head up, as well as contracting your lungs to breathe air in and out. However, would you be surprised to know that the number of bacterial cells in your body outnumbers the number of human cells? Eclipsing all of what is considered human cells are the trillions of microorganisms that make up what is called the Human Microbiota. These are thought to exceed human cells by a large margin. The average adult, according to the National Institutes of Health, could be carrying six pounds of bacteria on and inside their body. Since we now know that bacteria are numerous, both in sheer number and in function, how does Molecular Infectious Disease Testing aid in treating patients?
The common bacterial infection is no longer a great threat, since the discovery of antibiotics in 1928. Doctors began prescribing them in the 1940s and they have saved millions of lives since then. However, in recent decades the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics has led to a change in the way we think about and treat infections. Infections can be caused by a multitude of different organisms other than bacteria, including viruses, fungi, and parasites. In those cases, antibiotics will do nothing more than kill the good symbiotic bacteria in the human body. Furthermore, bacteria evolve and exchange genetic material with other resistant microorganisms, and as we use the same antibiotics over and over, killing only the weakest and susceptible strains, we aid in the speed of their evolution.
With Molecular Infectious Disease Testing, the actual genetic information of the pathogen can be tested. By extracting the DNA or RNA material, we have the technology to identify multiple organisms with pinpoint accuracy at a speed three to five times faster than conventional technologies. Also, because we are dealing with genetic information, we can identify the specific antibiotics that these pathogens are resistant to and guide the doctor or pharmacist to which medication will have the greatest impact on these infections, so the patient gets the right medication, at the right dose, faster. The revolutionary proprietary technology used by Coastal Laboratories identifies bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens all with the simple use of a swab or sterile collection cup.
It is time for the healthcare revolution to focus on the patient, rather than the population.