The researches find that the A simple finger prick blood test could help prevent unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics for people with the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), therefore according to a new study by researchers from Cardiff University; University of Oxford and King’s College London. But With funding from the National Institute for Health Research; the team demonstrated that using a CRP finger-prick blood test resulted in 20% fewer people using antibiotics for COPD flare-ups.

Finger prick blood test

Importantly, this reduction in antibiotic use did not have a negative effect on patients’ recovery over the first two weeks after their consultation at their GP surgery; or on their well-being or use of health care services over the following six months. Safely reducing the use of antibiotics in this way may help in the battle against antibiotic resistance. More than a million people in the UK have COPD; which is a lung condition associate with smoking and other environmental pollutants.

People living with the condition often experience exacerbations, or flare-ups; and when this happens, three out of four are prescribe antibiotics. However, two -thirds of these flare-ups are not caused by bacterial infections and antibiotics often do not benefit patients. Professor Nick Francis; from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, said: “Governments, commissioners; clinicians, and patients living with COPD around the world are urgently seeking tools to help them know when it is safe to withhold antibiotics and focus on treating flare-ups with other treatments.

Against antibiotic resistance

“This is a patient population that are often considered to be at high risk from not receiving antibiotics, but we are able to achieve a reduction in antibiotic use that is about twice the magnitude of that achieved by most other antimicrobial stewardship interventions, and demonstrate that this approach was safe.” The finger-prick test measures the amount of C- reactive protein (CRP) – a marker of inflammation that rises rapidly in the blood in response to serious infections.

People with a COPD flare-up who have a low CRP level in the blood appear to receive little benefit from antibiotic treatment. Professor Chris Butler, from the University of Oxford, said: “This rigorous clinical trial speaks directly to the pressing issues of; preserving the usefulness of our existing antibiotics; the potential of stratified, personalised care; the importance of contextually-appropriate evidence about point of care testing in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use, and; enhancing the quality of care for people with the common condition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.