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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2015 May;15(5):681-92. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2015.1029459. Epub 2015 Apr 12.

Emerging commercial molecular tests for the diagnosis of bloodstream infection.

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Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.


Bloodstream infection (BSI) by microorganisms can lead to sepsis. This condition has a high mortality rate, which rises significantly with delays in initiation of appropriate antimicrobial treatment. Current culture methods for diagnosing BSI have long turnaround times and poor clinical sensitivity. While clinicians wait for culture diagnosis, patients are treated empirically, which can result in inappropriate treatment, undesirable side effects and contribute to drug resistance development. Molecular diagnostics assays that target pathogen DNA can identify pathogens and resistance markers within hours. Early diagnosis improves antibiotic stewardship and is associated with favorable clinical outcomes. Nonetheless, limitations of current molecular diagnostic methods are substantial. This article reviews recent commercially available molecular methods that use pathogen DNA to diagnose BSI, either by testing positive blood cultures or directly testing patient blood. We critically assess these tests and their application in clinical microbiology. A view of future directions in BSI diagnosis is also provided.


MALDI-TOF; NGS; PCR; PCR/ESI-MS; antibiotic resistance; blood culture; blood stream infection; molecular diagnostics; next-generation sequencing; sepsis

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