Colonies of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Image credit: BURGER/PHANIE/REX/Shutterstock.

A new test helps quickly identify people who may be infected with the superbug MRSA when admitted to hospital. Currently, when patients are admitted to hospital they are tested for MRSA — a form of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that is resistant to a number of antibiotics. Such so-called superbugs present a significant problem for hospitals. Inpatients are generally given a swab test for MRSA, which can take several days to produce a result.

The new LGX test, which can produce a result within 30 minutes, uses a quick and affordable nasal probe to screen patients to determine which patients have some form of Staphylococcus aureus colonization or infection, including both methicillin sensitive (MSSA) and methicillin resistant (MRSA) strains.

While the new test doesn’t differentiate between MRSA and other strains, it would act as a gatekeeper, allowing medical staff to quickly identify which patients require further lab testing.

The researchers are in discussions with hospitals to run trials with anonymous patient swabs, which will allow them to compare results with those obtained within hospital labs.