University Of Georgia Logo A common type of pneumonia may now be detected within minutes, thanks to the following discovery. Researchers from the University of Georgia have apparently introduced a technique that diagnoses a common type of pneumonia in just few minutes. This test can be probably replaced by the currently available methods that produce results after several days.

With the help of this newly developed technique, scientists claim to have identified Mycoplasma pneumonia that triggers atypical or ‘walking pneumonia’ in clinical samples with around 97 percent precision. The crafted nanotechnology-based platform provides a positive identification from a 10-minute test, so physicians can immediately prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Therefore, the chances of spreading the disease can be supposedly reduced.

The common type pneumonia detector is known as surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Apparently this technology works by spotting on spectral signatures of a near-infrared laser as it scatters off a biological specimen. The Raman signal was presumably improved by using silver nanorod arrays for distinguishing the tiny bacteria in throat swab specimens. The sample like bacteria from a throat swab possibly penetrates among the bristles, where the spectral signature produced by the laser is amplified and then scrutinized by a computer program.

Duncan Krause, a professor in the department of microbiology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, lead author, said, “Walking pneumonia feels like a bad chest cold that will not go away. It can persist for weeks and even months and can cause permanent damage to the lungs if not diagnosed promptly. A delay in diagnosis extends the likelihood for complications as well as continued transmission of the infection to others.”

Though infections due to M. pneumonia appear common, they are difficult to diagnose. Scientists believe that the bacterium is a hallmark of respiratory disease in humans and the leading cause of pneumonia among older children as well as young adults. The device can be reduced to a size wherein it can fit into a briefcase. It is anticipated that the nanotechnology can help identify a number of infectious agents in the near future.

The research is published online in the journal PLoS ONE.