The BBC has recently reported that seriously ill patients could get help to recover more quickly in future due to a sensor which uses tiny needles to monitor medication.
These sensors have the potential to reduce the number of hospital superbugs because they produce results much more quickly than the current practice.
The sensors were developed by a team at Imperial College, London, and can indicate how a patient has reacted to the antibiotic that they have been given. Currently, regular blood tests are used to monitor reactions to antibiotics and other drugs.
Dr Timothy Rawson, who helped develop the sensor, noted that ‘by using a simple patch on the skin of the arm, or potentially at the site of infection, it could tell us how much of a drug is being used by the body and provide us with vital medical information, in real time’.
Micro-needle sensors have, until now, been used to monitor blood sugar levels, but this is reported to be the first use of such devices for monitoring antibiotic use.
So far, the tests have measured responses to penicillin, but researchers suggest that the needles could also be coated to test responses to many different types of antibiotics.
Researchers have found that an estimated 33,000 people died from infections that were resistant to antibiotics in 2015 and if future larger-scale tests proved successful, Dr Rawson, further states ‘the technology could help reduce drug-resistant infections, help manage serious infections and save the NHS money’
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