Professor Matt Cooper (IMB) (left) and Professor David Paterson (UQCCR) are working to better understand bacterial infections

Researchers have begun work on a method to quickly and accurately diagnose superbug infections, thanks to a philanthropic donation.

Mr and Mrs Cyril Golding of Gladstone will help to improve the way doctors currently identify bacteria afflicting patients through a generous donation to the University.

Professor Matt Cooper from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and Professor David Paterson from University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) will use the funding to study the genetic code of bacteria.

“This will enable us to recommend to the treating clinician which antibodies to administer to a patient, instead of the doctor having to guess and possibly use an ineffective treatment,” Professor Cooper said.

A crucial part of the project is increasing the speed at which this diagnosis is made. Traditional methods of bacterial diagnosis can take weeks, whereas next-generation DNA sequencing can currently produce results within two to three days, with a realistic aim of six to eight hours in the near future.

“The first week is critical in treating a bacterial infection and ensuring it doesn’t progress,” Professor Paterson said.

“This project will benefit patients, doctors and researchers throughout Australia. We are very grateful for the generosity of the Goldings for making the research possible. There is still a lot that needs to be done, but this is enabling a solid start.”

Mr Golding was inspired to donate to the research after suffering an antibiotic-resistant infection himself.

“I was never sure whether to believe the doctors when they told me what I was infected with, because they were just guessing based on my symptoms,” Mr Golding said.

“I wanted a way for doctors to diagnose infections based on science, not guesswork, and I hope this method will prove successful.”

Mr Golding founded an earthmoving company in 1942 and was part of some of Central Queensland’s largest civil works projects.