Background:Severe pneumonia is one of the common acute diseases caused by pathogenic microorganism infection, especially by pathogenic bacteria, leading to sepsis with a high morbidity and mortality rate. However, the existing bacteria cultivation method cannot satisfy current clinical needs requiring rapid identification of bacteria strain for antibiotic selection. Therefore, developing a sensitive liquid biopsy system demonstrates the enormous value of detecting pathogenic bacterium species in pneumonia patients.Methods:In this study, we developed a tool named Species-Specific Bacterial Detector (SSBD, pronounce as ‘speed’) for detecting selected bacterium. Newly designed diagnostic tools combining specific DNA-tag screened by our algorithm and CRISPR/Cas12a, which were first tested in the lab to confirm the accuracy, followed by validating its specificity and sensitivity via applying on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from pneumonia patients. In the validation I stage, we compared the SSBD results with traditional cultivation results. In the validation II stage, a randomized and controlled clinical trial was completed at the ICU of Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital to evaluate the benefit SSBD brought to the treatment.Results:In the validation stage I, 77 BALF samples were tested, and SSBD could identify designated organisms in 4 hr with almost 100% sensitivity and over 87% specific rate. In validation stage II, the SSBD results were obtained in 4 hr, leading to better APACHE II scores (p=0.0035, ANOVA test). Based on the results acquired by SSBD, cultivation results could deviate from the real pathogenic situation with polymicrobial infections. In addition, nosocomial infections were found widely in ICU, which should deserve more attention.Conclusions:SSBD was confirmed to be a powerful tool for severe pneumonia diagnosis in ICU with high accuracy.Funding:National Natural Science Foundation of China. The National Key Scientific Instrument and Equipment Development Project. Project number: 81927808.Clinical trial number:This study was registered at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ (NCT04178382).

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