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Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Sep 1;45 Suppl 2:S99-S111.

Molecular diagnostics for the detection and characterization of microbial pathogens.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Jackson Memorial Hospital and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.


New and advanced methods of molecular diagnostics are changing the way we practice clinical microbiology, which affects the practice of medicine. Signal amplification and real-time nucleic acid amplification technologies offer a sensitive and specific result with a more rapid turnaround time than has ever before been possible. Numerous methods of postamplification analysis afford the simultaneous detection and differentiation of numerous microbial pathogens, their mechanisms of resistance, and the construction of disease-specific assays. The technical feasibility of these assays has already been demonstrated. How these new, often more expensive tests will be incorporated into routine practice and the impact they will have on patient care remain to be determined. One of the most attractive uses for such techniques is to achieve a more rapid characterization of the infectious agent so that a narrower-spectrum antimicrobial agent may be used, which should have an impact on resistance patterns.

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