Research ArticleInfectious Disease

Host gene expression classifiers diagnose acute respiratory illness etiology

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Science Translational Medicine  20 Jan 2016:
Vol. 8, Issue 322, pp. 322ra11
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad6873

Resisting antibiotics

No matter the cause, acute respiratory infections can be miserable. Indeed, these infections are one of the most common reasons for seeking medical care. A clear diagnostic can help medical practitioners resist the patient-induced pressure to prescribe antibiotics as a catch-all therapy, which increases the risk of bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. Now, Tsalik et al. report clear differences in host gene expression induced by bacterial and viral infection as well as by noninfectious illness. These differences can be used to discriminate between these groups, and a host gene expression classifier may be a helpful diagnostic platform to curb unnecessary antibiotic use.