The Karius Diagnostic Test: A Missing Puzzle Piece

Billions upon billions of microbial organisms inhabit the earth and our bodies. When we get sick because of modern-day medicine and technology developments, we can often pinpoint exactly which microbial organisms are the source of the problem. But how, exactly? Karius Chief Technical Officer Sivan Bercovici and Medical Director Dr. Sarah Park joined host David Kemp to talk about the Karius diagnostic test and how it breaks barriers in antimicrobial research.

Karius surfaced out of transplantation research at Stanford, where researchers learned DNA from microbes is sent to the bloodstream and can then be harvested and analyzed. This analysis has two aspects: chemistry, which is capturing as many molecules as possible, and machine learning, which makes sense of the data.

“We all have microbes, and we have mixtures of microbes. And what’s making very hard is that this mixture of microbes or cell-free DNA coming from these microbes, can be similar to one another, they can be similar to other things,” explained Bercovici. “Machine learning had to kick into de-convolute that signal to tell you exactly which microbes you have and exactly what concentration of those microbes,” he continued. Bercovici added, “Unless you apply these algorithms, you end up with a pile of pieces of DNA that are impenetrable for any physician.”

The immunocompromised population is just one example of why diagnostic tests are necessary. With this population, they could have multiple infections due to a lack of immunity. “As a clinician, you really have to think about ‘What test do I order?’” Dr. Park explained. This can be difficult with insurance, which may not agree to cover a test a physician deems necessary, and physicians often end up ordering multiple tests.

“This is where tests like the Karius test can be very useful in conjunction with your other tests to be able to add potentially the answer to the question you’re asking, which is: “What is causing the problem for my patient?’” Dr. Park stated.

With the Karius test, the earlier you use it, the better the results will be, but the results still need to be interpreted in the context of each patient. The test result is not meaningful until put in the context of the patient—what medications they are on, their potential exposures, and other factors. The same microbe detected in patient A will not have the same effect in patient B if their clinical status is different.

“It’s like looking at pieces of a puzzle, and some of the pieces are together, and without the Karius test, we are still missing a huge part of the picture. And hopefully what the Karius test does is fill in more of that picture and make that picture more meaningful so that the clinician can actually use the appropriate antimicrobials, know how to manage the patient better, potentially have that chance to save the patient,” Dr. Park explained.

For more on the Karius diagnostic test and its impact on antimicrobial research and clinical use, visit Spotify, Apple iTunes, YouTube, or

Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



innovations in healthcare
Innovations in Healthcare: A Discussion with Dr. Craig Joseph at HIMSS 2024
May 24, 2024

Innovations in healthcare were easy to spot at the recent HIMSS 2024 conference. Healthcare Rethink’s Brian Urban caught up with one of those innovators for a live discussion at HIMSS 2024. podcast, Their conversation opens a window and dialogue into the cutting-edge trends reshaping healthcare technology today. This episode features Dr. Craig Joseph, the…

Read More
Preventing burnout
Achieving Professional Growth and Preventing Burnout: The Importance of Time Management and Support Networks in a Fast-Paced World
May 23, 2024

In today’s fast-paced world, balancing professional growth with personal well-being is more crucial than ever. With the rise of remote work, digital transformation, and the constant hustle culture, finding this balance has become a significant challenge for many. A survey conducted by Deloitte suggests that a whopping 77% of professionals experience burnout at work….

Read More
Fan-Centric Business Transformation
Prop Room
May 23, 2024

In this episode of the Fans First series, Jesse Cole, the mastermind behind the Savannah Bananas, shares with us that in the vibrant world of marketing, creativity knows no bounds—a philosophy embodied by a prop room and studio teeming with eclectic costumes and outlandish ideas. This creative hub, seemingly disconnected from conventional themes like bananas,…

Read More
Ace Gardner and Jacob Lewis discuss NIL Deals and Transfer Portals
NIL Deals and Transfer Portals are Also Impacting College Staff and Their Roles
May 23, 2024

College sports is undergoing a significant transformation with the advent of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights and the increasing prevalence of transfer portals. These changes are reshaping how college staff operate, presenting both opportunities and challenges. With the rise of NIL deals and transfer portals, understanding the behind-the-scenes impact on college coaching staff…

Read More