Pinpointing the cause of coughs and sneezes. Duke Research blog, July 30, 2015. Duke University students are trying to help doctors find a faster way to pinpoint the cause of their patients’ coughs, sore throats and sniffles. Undergraduates have teamed up with researchers at Duke Medicine to identify blood markers that could be used to tell whether what’s making someone sick is a bacteria, or a virus. The goal is to better determine if and when to give antibiotics in order to stem the rise of drug-resistant superbugs. Picked up by Nature.