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Mar 27, 2013 12:05 PM by Ryan Haarer

Tucson company taking on drug resistant infections

TUCSON - A deadly superbug caused major concern in recent months, even prompting a warning from the Center of Disease Control.

Learning what kind of infection you are dealing with can take days. That's where Accelerate Diagnostics comes in. Their new Tucson lab is dedicated to finding ways to rapidly detect particular bacterial strains, pinpointing the antibiotic that can fight it best.

Physicians prescribe antibiotics which often help, but it's a double edged sword.

"There's also resistance that can emerge and multi-drug resistant bacteria are a much bigger problem now than ever," said, Steve Metzger with Accelerate Diagnostics.

The superbug MERSA and now CRE fall in that category, and Accelerate Diagnostics is taking notice.

"The difference with our technology relative to what's currently available is that we are able to provide results in less than eight hours where as typical culturing methods take many days to generate the information that the doctors need to prescribe antibiotic," said, Metzger.

Once a small group of five scientists in Colorado, Pima County has adopted the company into their public health building, offering lab space for the now 50 scientists to help physicians game plan for the patient.

"We can generate results that will make it back to the physician that will enable him or her to pick a very specific antibiotic tailored for the given infection, and really prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance," said, Metzger.

He says to avoid CRE by avoiding hospitals if you can. Also, wash your hands regularly.

The county took in Accelerate Diagnostics with open arms. Bioscience jobs are increasing at a rapid rate. Pima County and Tucson want very much to be a part of it. Accelerate Diagnostics is hoping to hit the market very soon.

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