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Breakthroughs in Diagnostics: Now Testing Possible Even When Under Antibiotics

Traditionally, if you have antibiotics then chances were your diagnostic results won’t be accurate. This was because microbiology techniques for diagnostics depend upon growing the micro organisms by cultures but cultures do not grow if the patient is on antibiotics.

However, all that is set to change. Advancements in diagnostic techniques now makes it possible for detection of pathogens even if a person has been given antibiotics by doctors, thus making proper and accurate treatment possible to huge number of patients who are given broad-spectrum antibiotics as a preventive measure till laboratory results are out. The test has been certified by NABL.

“We have developed very advanced testing techniques which make it possible for people to get tested and to get to results quickly. In certain cases, we are able to arrive at results within 8hours. In several cases, it is life-saving. It also reduces overall duration of hospital stay and the cost of treatment. Our technique also helps in accurate diagnosis. We have invested substantially in these new techniques and have had tremendous response from the market for our tests,” says Ms Arunima Patel, Founder and CEO, iGenetic Diagnostics.

iGenetic Diagnostics was setup in 2013 to fill certain glaring gaps in the Indian diagnostics landscape. The commercial operations of the company started in 2015. It provides comprehensive, personalized and differential diagnosis in the therapeutic areas of Infectious Diseases, Oncology, Gynecology, Pediatrics & Neonatology and Critical Care. Committed to providing quality diagnostics in Tier II and  III cities and rural areas, iGenetic has a comprehensive diagnostics laboratory covering the broadest spectrum of pathology from routine tests like Biochemistry and Immunology to higher end difficult-to-perform tests like Molecular Genetics, Cytogenetics, Molecular diagnostics and Histopathology. In addition to company’s focus on higher end esoteric tests like Molecular Genetics and Molecular Diagnostics, the lab also caters to routine diagnostics like vitamins, hormones, CBC etc.

iGenetic has the capability to develop many in-house tests and products which are not available in the market today with several “first in the market” tests already commercialized. It is the first diagnostics company in the country that can deliver a septicemia (infection of the blood) test report within 24 hours.

Diagnostics carried out through molecular techniques are rapid, comprehensive and more accurate. The current systems for diagnosis of bloodstream infections need sequential bacterial detection, identification (ID), and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) with traditional blood cultures. The culture cannot grow if the patient is on antibiotic treatment. But molecular technique, as practiced by new-age diagnostics chains world-over, makes it possible for proper diagnosis even if the patient has been given antibiotics.

“This culture based diagnostic is a three step process and takes quite a bit of time to arrive at results and if the patient is showing serious signs of illness, then it is redundant as the precise treatment has to be started quickly. Molecular technique, as used by iGenetic Diagnostics in India, is able to get to results much faster and can result in cost savings for the patient as the patient can start proper medication early and save the hospital stay costs,”Ms Arunima Patel explained.

Using molecular technique, iGenetic has been able to find out within 24 hours which organism is causing septicaemia in the patient whereas traditional approaches take 3 days. Septicaemia is a fatal ailment involving presence of pathogen in the blood. It needs treatment urgently. iGenetic has filed for patent for an antibiotic drug resistance test that it does.

When a person is extremely unwell, doctors give antibiotic treatment even before the diagnostic results are out. The one-size-fits-all use of antibiotics often results in infections, antibiotic resistance and drug-related toxicities. Many people die from conditions that are complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The traditional diagnosis methods suffer from a range of shortcomings. Blood cultures have low sensitivity and when the bacteria in blood are less than 10 CFU/mL, the growth in cultures is too slow and produces negative results. There are certain bacteria that do not grow at all under typical culture conditions. The cultures are often prone to contamination by skin flora which sometimes grows quickly and out-do certain pathogens in the culture. The results can be false negative.

A quick diagnosis of bacteria and antibiotic susceptibility testing through molecular diagnostics is reducing dependence on broad-spectrum antibiotics. This allows for fast de-escalation to pathogen targeted therapy.

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