Researchers at BGU, Shamoon College of Engineering, and Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering have developed an innovative method for the rapid determination of the identity and antibiotic sensitivity of bacterial pathogens in urinary tract infections (UTI) in patients.

UTI is a common infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, but usually the lower urinary tract. In addition to the pain and discomfort associated with UTI, if left untreated or treated with ineffective antibiotics it can lead to complications such as permanent kidney damage and blood contamination. UTIs affect over 150 million people annually around the globe and is the most common outpatient infection in the US. In hospitals, UTIs account for 40% of all hospital-acquired infections.

The novel method enables detection of bacterial pathogens directly from urine samples in 30-40 minutes. The technology combines measurements of the infrared spectrum of the infecting bacteria with machine learning algorithms, to enable the simultaneous determination of both bacterial type at the species level and bacterial sensitivity to antibiotics.

The method has been tested on over 1,000 urine samples and was able to discriminate between bacterial species with approximately 97% accuracy and determine bacterial susceptibility to various antibiotics with approximately 85% accuracy.

The inventors include Prof. Mahmoud Huleihel (pictured here), head of the Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics​, Faculty of Health Science at BGU; Prof. Ahmad Salman from Shamoon College of Engineering and Dr. Itshak Lapidot from Afeka Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering. BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of BGU, has filed for patent protection and is now seeking a strategic partner for the further development and commercialization of this promising technology.

Prof. Mahmoud Huleihel, said, “The new technology offers a novel clinical decision-support tool for early and precise antibiotic recommendations, that will result in effective treatment. More broadly, our invention is timely, given the global emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance.”

“This method for the identification of bacterial pathogens in UTI patients is an important and long-awaited solution for the management of UTI,” said Josh Peleg, CEO of BGN Technologies. “Currently, identification of the bacterial pathogen and its antibiotics sensitivity is labor-intensive and can take up to three days, leading to treatment delays and potential complications. This novel solution can supply medical staff with results within 1 hour after collecting a urine sample, with very high accuracy and minimal effort. We are confident that this method has the potential to become a mainstay in hospitals and outpatient clinics alike.”

Media Coverage:
​Israel HaYom