Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Genomics is buried in too much data

What if a nurse could swipe your saliva and run a quick genetic test for bacteria?
April 10, 2017
DNA code

DNA codeCREDIT: Alix Kreil/Shutterstock

Genomics is buried in too much data

by Patrick Chain

When a sore throat and sinus congestion warrant a visit to the doctor, your physician will attempt to determine whether a cold virus or bacterial infection is to blame—oftentimes without success. So, just to be safe, they might write a potentially unnecessary script for an antibiotic.

But what if a nurse could swipe your saliva and run a quick genetic test for bacteria? If the test results are negative, you get a prescription for a decongestant and orders to get some rest, rather than contributing to the widespread overuse of antibiotics.

Rapid genetic screening on a personal level can take the guesswork out of a doctor visit.

This story first appeared in Discover.