A recent Mayo Clinic study was selected as one of the “10 most significant reports during the past year that integrate Infection Control practice with Diagnostic Microbiology testing” at the 2015 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) meeting. Dr. Reeti Khare, a former Clinical Microbiology fellow at Mayo Clinic, and Mark Espy, a Development Coordinator in Clinical Microbiology, completed the study. Dr. Khare presented the study on June 1 at the ASM General Meeting in New Orleans.
The paper, “Comparative evaluation of two commercial multiplex panels for detection of gastrointestinal pathogens by use of clinical stool specimens,” was originally published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in October 2014.
This study focused on comparing routine microbiology techniques, such as culture, microscopy, and antigen testing, to two new FDA-cleared molecular tests (BioFire FilmArray and Luminex GI panels). The new molecular tests allow for multiplex detection of up to 20 pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, parasites) that cause gastrointestinal disease. The study addressed the overall performance characteristics of the new molecular tests and identified whether these new assays were detecting significantly more infectious agents as compared to standard methods.
The study included 500 clinical samples and showed that the new multiplex tests detected up to four times more pathogens as compared to routine methods (33 percent versus 8.3 percent). Clostridium difficile was the most common bacteria detected, while norovirus and sapovirus were two commonly detected viruses. Additionally, the molecular multiplex assays detected mixed infections, which consist of two or more pathogens in a single sample, in up to 21 percent of samples, compared to only 8 percent by standard methods. While current routine testing may take several days to complete, the new molecular assays can provide results in as little as one hour.
According to Matthew Binnicker, Ph.D., D(ABMM), Director of the Clinical Virology laboratory at Mayo Clinic and Principal Investigator of this study, “The new, FDA-cleared multiplex assays allow for a more sensitive means of diagnosing gastrointestinal disease. With results available in as little as one hour, healthcare providers are able to make more timely patient management decisions, including possible treatment and initiation of infection control measures to help prevent the spread of disease.”