A simple and rapid assay for the determination of serum bactericidal activity was developed and evaluated in 125 clinical isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae. The serum reactivity against these isolates was concomitantly determined by the conventional viable count technique in order to compare the efficacy of the two techniques. The rapid assay could be completed within 5-8 h and the results were recorded in terms of visible change of colour of the culture medium. Of the 125 strains tested, more than 50% were found to be resistant to 20% normal human serum. There was an excellent agreement between the two methods. The degree of discordance observed in the results obtained by the two methods was statistically not significant (P > 0.05). The conventional technique is labor intensive, cumbersome and time-consuming. The assay described here, on the other hand, is simple, easy and rapid enough to allow testing of a large number of bacterial isolates or recombinant clones in a single day. Thus, the assay can serve as an excellent alternative to the conventional technique for determining the bacterial serum susceptibility.
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