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New Test Results in Easier, Faster Pink Eye Diagnosis

The AdenoPlus received FDA approval earlier this year.  The device can detect a virus that causes pink eye in a short period of time.  I caught up with Dr. Shachar Tauber, an ophthalmologist at Mercy Springfield, which was involved in helping gain FDA approval for AdenoPlus, while he was travelling through Arkansas…

"The beautiful thing about this pink eye detector is that it's very simple to use."

Dr. Tauber says the AdenoPlus device also went through CLIA, another approval process which allows it to be used by those other than physicians and nurses. 

Pink eye or conjunctivitis can either be the result of a virus, bacteria or allergies.  Doctors can’t tell by looking, and, in the past many went ahead and prescribed antibiotics while waiting for test results.

Since antibiotics don’t work on viruses, Dr. Tauber says the new test eliminates the overprescribing of those medications…

"We tend to, in the United States, always put patients on antibiotics when they present with pink eye and so the number of patients that have been put on expensive antibiotics or antibiotics that could also cause potential resistance if we keep using them indiscriminately will go down and has been shown to go down by using this relatively simple and inexpensive test to determine which patients don't need antibiotics."

According to Dr. Tauber, the AdenoPlus has an accuracy and precision well over 90%.

Since the approval of the device, he says doctors are working on updating their recommendations for pink eye including new medications…

"We're having tremendous success in medications for viruses that right now are not approved for the adenovirus but are approved for severe virus like the herpes virus.  We know in pilot studies  here in the United States and overseas that the use of the drug ganciclovir has been shown to be very helpful in limiting the duration of a disease and the potential complications that come from the adenovirus."

Mercy is part of a multi-center study to look at the use of ganciclovir gel for patients with the Adeno virus.

The health system designed the early predecessor to the AdenoPlus and has been involved in clinical trials with that family of detectors since 2005.  And Tauber says they’ve been involved in writing landmark articles that have been used by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to discuss the benefits of the tests.