If a person is thought to have a peptic ulcer caused by H. pylori a doctor can do three noninvasive tests to test for the bacterium. The first is a blood test that checks for H. pylori antibodies. The second is a urea breath test. The patient swallows a capsule, liquid, or pudding that contains urea labeled with a specific carbon atom. After a few minutes the patient breathes into a container, exhaling carbon dioxide. If the carbon atom is found in the breath then H. pylori is present. This is because the bacterium contains a large amount of urease. The third test is a stool antigen test which tests for H. pylori antigens in the patient's stool.
To kill the H. pylori researchers have found that they need to block a key chemical pathway that the bacteria needs for survival. Flabodoxin, a key protein that H. pylori needs for survival, happens to be what needs to be blocked. However, the problem is that H. pylori eaisly becomes resistant to certain antibiotics. Sancho and his team screened 10,000 chemicals for their ability to block flavodoxin and only identified four that showed promise. Three of the four substances killed the bacterium and did not have any apparent toxic effects in lab animals. It is now believed that in order to get rid of H. pylori the antibiotic clarithromycin, a PPI, and the antibiotics amoxicillin or metronidazole for 10 to 14 days will do the trick.