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J Mol Diagn. 2006 Jul;8(3):376-84.

A consensus on fungal polymerase chain reaction diagnosis?: a United Kingdom-Ireland evaluation of polymerase chain reaction methods for detection of systemic fungal infections.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and NPHS Cardiff, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK.


The limitations of classical diagnostic methods for invasive fungal infections (IFIs) have led to the development of molecular techniques to aid in the detection of IFIs. Despite good published performance, interlaboratory reproduction of these assays is variable, and no consensus has been reached for an optimal method. This publication describes the first multicenter study of polymerase chain reaction methods, for the detection of Aspergillus and Candida species, currently used in the UK and Ireland by distribution and analysis of multiple specimen control panels. All three Candida methods were comparable, achieving a satisfactory level of detection (10 cfu), and the method of preference was dependent on the requirements of the particular laboratory. The results for the five Aspergillus assays were more variable, but two methods (2Asp and 4Asp) were superior (10(1) conidia). Formally, the overall performances of the two Aspergillus assays were comparable (kappa statistic = 0.77). However, on the Roche LightCycler, there was a clear sample-type effect that greatly reduced the detection limit of the 4Asp method when testing whole blood samples. Therefore, the preferred Aspergillus method relied on the amplification platform available to the user. This study represents the initial process to achieve a consensus method for the diagnosis of IFIs.

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