What Hospitals Are Doing To Diagnose Infectious Diseases Faster

With machines like Biofire Array, diagnosing infections turns from a days long process to a few hours.
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When it comes to infectious diseases, every second counts. 

That's why hospitals like Forsyth Medical Center are using machines like Biofire FilmArray and T2Dx Instrument.

These machines are test a specimen and determine what kind of infection a person has.

Dr. David Priest, Medical Director for Infection Prevention and Antimicrobial Stewardship for Novant Health, says these machines are life saving.

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A few days long process of waiting for test results has now been shortened to hours.

"It makes a big difference in what antibiotics we are choosing and it makes a big difference in being able to stop antibiotics that patients don’t need." Priest said.

The Biofire machine reads four different kinds of specimen--- respiratory, blood, spinal fluid and stool.

Each test looks for anywhere between 14-27 different kinds viruses, bacteria, parasites, yeast and antimicrobial resistance genes that may be in your body.

The lab tech is careful with your sample --gowning and gloving to keep everything clean. Then the tech takes your sample injects it with a diluting agent to make it thinner, mixes it, adds it to a cartridge which then goes into the machine.

In about an hour and 5 minutes, doctors find out what's in your system.

The T2 machine tests your blood for yeast which is a sign of a serious infection, but that takes about 3 hours.

Doctors expect these times to get shorter.

"We are very excited in what the future holds in microbiology technologies," Priest said. 

Cone Health uses similar technology like Forsyth Medical Center.