Metabolic preference assay for rapid diagnosis of bloodstream infections

Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 28;13(1):2332. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30048-6.


Bloodstream infections (BSIs) cause >500,000 infections and >80,000 deaths per year in North America. The length of time between the onset of symptoms and administration of appropriate antimicrobials is directly linked to mortality rates. It currently takes 2-5 days to identify BSI pathogens and measure their susceptibility to antimicrobials - a timeline that directly contributes to preventable deaths. To address this, we demonstrate a rapid metabolic preference assay (MPA) that uses the pattern of metabolic fluxes observed in ex-vivo microbial cultures to identify common pathogens and determine their antimicrobial susceptibility profiles. In a head-to-head race with a leading platform (VITEK 2, BioMérieux) used in diagnostic laboratories, MPA decreases testing timelines from 40 hours to under 20. If put into practice, this assay could reduce septic shock mortality and reduce the use of broad spectrum antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents*
  • Biological Assay
  • Humans
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis
  • Shock, Septic*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents

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