‘World-first’ graphene-based test could rapidly detect patients’ need for antibiotic treatment
How the test works
PCT is produced in healthy individuals in response to hormones, however, production is increased during a bacterial infection.
PCT does not rise in the presence of a viral infection, as another protein produced by the body during viral infection, called ‘interferon gamma’, blocks the production of PCT. This makes high levels of PCT specific to bacterial infections.
Simultaneously, CRP is produced by the body when it encounters an infection, which then marks bacterial and viral cells as ‘invaders’ for destruction by the body’s immune system.
The amount of CRP the body produces rises with infection, most significantly by bacteria, but also with other viral and fungal infections.
Combining the measurement of PCT and CRP into one test has the potential to improve accuracy and aid in the proper use of antibiotics.