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Clin Chim Acta. 2006 Jan;363(1-2):206-20. Epub 2005 Sep 1.

Nucleic acid-based methods for the detection of bacterial pathogens: present and future considerations for the clinical laboratory.

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Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch, Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



Recent advances in nucleic acid-based methods to detect bacteria offer increased sensitivity and specificity over traditional microbiological techniques. The potential benefit of nucleic acid-based testing to the clinical laboratory is reduced time to diagnosis, high throughput, and accurate and reliable results.


Several PCR and hybridization tests are commercially available for specific organism detection. Furthermore, hundreds of nucleic acid-based bacterial detection tests have been published in the literature and could be adapted for use in the clinical setting. Contamination potential, lack of standardization or validation for some assays, complex interpretation of results, and increased cost are possible limitations of these tests, however, and must be carefully considered before implementing them in the clinical laboratory.


A major area of advancement in nucleic acid-based assay development has been for specific and broad-range detection of bacterial pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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