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Open Badges Commentary

The host response to infection: advancing a novel diagnostic paradigm

Geoffrey S Ginsburg1* and Christopher W Woods2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy, 101 Science Drive, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA

2 Infectious Diseases Section, Service 113, Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC 27705, USA

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Critical Care 2012, 16:168  doi:10.1186/cc11685

See related research by Parnell et al.,

Published: 6 November 2012


Capturing the host response by using genomic technologies such as transcriptional profiling provides a new paradigm for classifying and diagnosing infectious disease and for potentially distinguishing infection from other causes of serious respiratory illness. This strategy has been used to define a blood-based RNA signature as a classifier for pandemic H1N1 influenza infection that is distinct from bacterial pneumonia and other inflammatory causes of respiratory disease. To realize the full potential of this approach as a diagnostic test will require additional independent validation of the results and studies to examine the specificity of this signature for viral versus bacterial infection or co-infection.