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Tag Archives: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology —

Rapid PCR rules as labs ready flu arsenal

December 2018—With the memory of the 2017–2018 “high-severity” influenza season fresh in mind—49 million cases, 960,000 hospitalizations, a marginally effective vaccine, 79,000 deaths—clinical laboratories have been bracing for the customary annual surge in emergency room, outpatient clinic, and physician office influenza test orders. Although flu admissions have been rising somewhat, it is too soon to know how the season will play out, but laboratories are hoping for a season closer to average. Avoiding a repeat of last year’s travails—lengthy turnaround times, supply shortages, and the need to triage patients for testing—is a must, many laboratory directors say. “We had difficulty keeping up with last year’s demand. It was extremely time-consuming,” says Mary Kay O’Connor, national laboratory director at Summit Health Management, the management arm of the Summit Medical Group, an 800-provider practice on the East Coast.

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Next step? The switch from stool culture to PCR

September 2018—The advantages of moving from stool culture to a molecular platform are many: faster time to results, more accurate pathogen identification, a savings of space and staff time. For Jose Alexander, MD, D(ABMM), SM, MB(ASCP), and colleagues at Florida Hospital Orlando, another plus is being able to adhere to the Infectious Diseases Society of America guideline suggestion that labs use a diagnostic approach that can distinguish O157 from non-O157 E. coli and Shiga toxin 1 from Shiga toxin 2 E. coli.

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For infection control, PCR and culture compared
Plus, an in-house PCR test for HSV in CSF

January 2016—There is a reason why rigorous studies are done to prove even the seemingly apparent benefits of advanced techniques. Sometimes comparisons turn up unexpected findings, as demonstrated by two selected infectious disease abstracts about real-time PCR presented at the Nov. 5–7, 2015 meeting of the Association for Molecular Pathology. Even so, both abstracts show the value of PCR testing.

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Lab’s respiratory panel found to curb antibiotic use

January 2014—Fewer children with respiratory disease symptoms hospitalized from the ED without a diagnosis, less antibiotic use, and a favorable ratio of reimbursement to expense. That’s what the laboratory at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is seeing, said Beverly B. Rogers, MD, chief of pathology, in a Nov. 5 webinar, “Focus on FilmArray: One New Technology Applied to Classic Clinical Problems.” Presented by CAP TODAY and made possible by an educational grant from BioFire Diagnostics, the webinar centered on the multiplex PCR system from BioFire that tests for viruses, bacteria, yeast, and antimicrobial resistance genes.

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