Article: article from journal or magazin.
Review (review): journal as complete as possible of one specific subject, written based on exhaustive analyses from published work.
Microbiological diagnosis of community-acquired respiratory tract infections by nucleic acid detection.
Expert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics
Publication types: Journal ArticlePublication Status: ppublish. PDF type: Review
Background: Microbiological diagnostic procedures have changed significantly over the last decade. Initially the implementation of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) resulted in improved detection tests for microbes that were difficult or even impossible to detect by conventional methods such as culture and serology, especially in community-acquired respiratory tract infections (CA-RTI). A further improvement was the development of real-time PCR, which allows end point detection and quantification, and many diagnostic laboratories have now implemented this powerful method. Objective: At present, new performant and convenient molecular tests have emerged targeting in parallel many viruses and bacteria responsible for lower and/or upper respiratory tract infections. The range of test formats and microbial agents detected is evolving very quickly and the added value of these new tests needs to be studied in terms of better use of antibiotics, better patient management, duration of hospitalization and overall costs. Conclusions: Molecular tools for a better microbial documentation of CA-RTI are now available. Controlled studies are now required to address the relevance issue of these new methods, such as, for example, the role of some newly detected respiratory viruses or of the microbial DNA load in a particular patient at a particular time. The future challenge for molecular diagnosis will be to become easy to handle, highly efficient and cost-effective, delivering rapid results with a direct impact on clinical management.
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