Finnish researchers have used Machine Learning (ML) to predict the risk of developing a serious and possibly life-threatening infection from “hospital bug”.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is an ubiquitous coloniser of healthy human skin, but it is also a notorious source of serious infections with indwelling devices and surgical procedures such as hip replacements.
A team of microbiologists and geneticists from the Aalto-University and the University of Helsinki, Finland, combined large-scale population genomics and in vitro measurements of immunologically relevant features of these bacteria.
Using ML, they could successfully predict the risk of developing infection from the genomic features of a bacterial isolate, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
It has not been known whether all members of the S. epidermidis population colonising the skin asymptomatically are capable of causing such infections, or if some of them have a heightened tendency to do so when they enter either the bloodstream or a deep tissue.
But, the new finding opens the door for future technology where high-risk genotypes are identified proactively when a person is to undergo a surgical procedure, which has high potential to reduce the burden of nosocomial infections caused by S. epidermidis, the researchers noted.
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