Real-time PCR as a Diagnostic Tool for Bacterial Diseases

Max Maurin


Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2012;12(7):731-754. 

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Expert Commentary

PCR tests represent a major advance in the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases. The qPCR technology has allowed easier and more effective implantation of molecular diagnosis in the clinical microbiology laboratories. More recently, qPCR tests allowing rapid detection of antibiotic resistance determinants have been commercialized. qPCR-based diagnostic strategy has many advantages over culture, including faster diagnosis, more rapid turn-around time, easy detection of uncultivable and fastidious microorganisms, and the possibility to detect microbial DNA in patients already treated with antibiotics. Conversely, culture remains essential for antibiotic susceptibility testing and for epidemiological investigations. It is to be noted, however, that very few commercial qPCR tests have been developed and clinically validated for diagnosis of bacterial diseases, compared with the broad spectrum of their potential clinical indications. On the other hand, commercially available tests remain highly expensive, which limits their widespread diffusion.