Scientists claim Machine Learning can help to predict infection risk from hospital bug

Bacteria (Representational picture) Reuters

From IT sectors to medical science, the development in the field of technology has helped the humankind to pass many hurdles. Now, Finnish researchers have claimed that Machine Learning (ML) is capable of predicting the risk of developing a serious and possibly life-threatening infection from hospital bug.

Staphylococcus epidermidis is part of the normal human flora, typically the skin flora but in recent years it also becomes the most important cause of nosocomial infections with indwelling devices and surgical procedures such as hip replacements.

A research team, specialized in microbiology and genetics from the Aalto-University and the University of Helsinki in Finland combined large-scale population genomics and in vitro measurements of immunologically relevant features of these bacteria.

The study published in the journal Nature Communications stated that by using ML the researchers could successfully predict the risk of developing an infection from the genomic features of a bacterial isolate.

Early studies could not reveal that whether all members of the Staphylococcus epidermidis population colonising the skin asymptomatically are capable of causing such infections or if some of them have a heightened tendency to do the same when they enter either a deep tissue or the bloodstream.

But the new findings by the Finnish researchers have provided the path for the 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 the Gram-positive bacterium.

Quick facts about Staphylococcus epidermidis:

  • It can be defeated by harmful skin bacterias and antibiotics.
  • It can grow up to 2 µm
  • It can live on our skin, preferably sweaty places, such as the armpits and sometimes on the mucous membrane
  • It also protects the human body from harmful bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus