(June 11, 2018) -- A new study by Waldemar Gorski, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Chemistry, and Stanton McHardy, associate professor of research in chemistry and director of the UTSA Center for Innovative Drug Discovery, describes a method that could show quickly and accurately whether a person has been infected with harmful bacteria or other pathogens. Additionally, this new method shows the exact severity of infection in a person.
The most common method of testing for infection in medical facilities is a strip that turns a certain color when infected fluids come into contact with it.
“The problem with this method is that it’s imprecise,” Gorski said. “The human eye is forced to judge the level of infection based on the hue and deepness of a color. It’s difficult to make an accurate call based on that.” Furthermore, roughly a third of samples cannot be tested because the fluids contain blood or are too opaque.
Other methods include microbiology or examining body fluid samples under a microscope and counting white blood cells, also known as leukocytes, which are an indicator of an infection. However, these can be slow processes and require more highly trained personnel.
Gorski, seeing a need for an easier and more rapid method of testing for infection, resolved to test an electrochemical approach, and sought out McHardy, a medicinal chemist. Together, they created molecules that bind to leukocyte enzymes and produce an electrical current to signal the presence of an infection.
Their new molecules are housed on a testing strip. After being contacted with infected bodily fluids, the strip is connected to a computer monitor that displays a clear range of electrochemical responses demonstrating the severity of an infection.
“The signs and symptoms people demonstrate aren’t always reflective of the level of the infection they have,” McHardy said. “This method could very easily show just how serious an infection is and make diagnosis a much quicker process, possibly preventing a more serious illness.”
Gorski believes the method could be especially useful to people who have just undergone surgery, as it could determine definitively whether they have an infection from the procedure before it worsens.
To date, Gorski and McHardy have filed a patent for their invention, published two papers and plan to work with an engineer in the future to streamline its design.
Read Waldemar Gorski and Stanton McHardy’s study, “Synthesis and Characterization of Pyridine Compounds for Amperometric Measurements of Leukocyte Esterase.”
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Chemistry.
Learn more about the UTSA Center for Innovative Drug Discovery.
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All UTSA faculty, staff and students are invited to attend open forums featuring finalist candidates for the dean of the UTSA College of Sciences.Various Locations, Main Campus
Grad Fest is a fun event for graduates to celebrate your upcoming graduation and help them prepare for Commencement.Buena Vista Street Building Assembly Room (BVB 1.338), Downtown Campus
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The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy invites everyone to its monthly lecture and stargazing event (weather permitting).Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughn Jr. Observatory, FLN 4th floor, Main Campus
Future Roadrunners experience life and opportunities at UTSA during this one day Fall Open House.Various locations, Main Campus
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will welcome historian Gregory Peek of Penn State University and a panel of music scene personalities to recount the Alamo City’s place in the heavy metal landscape.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA is an early voting site for the statewide General Election.H-E-B Student Union Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Main Campus