November 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts November 1999 Current Issue
November 1999
AppleShort Cuts:

Just in time for flu season, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a test for diagnosing bacterial pneumonia. Called NOW, the test a simple urinalysis done at a doctor's office yields results in 15 minutes. By testing for the presence of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, doctors can rule out the possibility of a viral infection. Without the usual two-to-seven-day turnaround time of traditional tests, antibiotics immediately can be prescribed if the bacterium is detected.

Streptococcus pneumoniae Dr. Joan DeCelie-Germana, co-director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., treats patients who are particularly susceptible to pneumonia. She believes the test will help doctors avoid prescribing unnecessary antibiotics, which can cause side effects or diminish the drugs' impact on subsequent infections. Says DeCelie-Germana, "I think the test sounds like it's worthwhile, accurate and may be helpful in particular situations," such as an ambiguous diagnosis.

Portland, Maine-based NOW developer Binax Inc. says the test, which costs between $15 and $20, should be in doctors' offices now.


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