In one of our latest offering, we show how a molecular method can speed up identification of bacteria in septicaemia by over two days. The FilmArray technique allows clinical lab staff to identify the bacteria in an hour with pre-packaged reagents and a plug-and-play analyser.
This has to be a batter way of meeting the needs of patients in country communities, than shipping them or their specimens to the big city hospital labs.
FilmArray works by targeting a series of bacterial gene targets from species of interest and running an array of triplicate PCR assays for each target. It is an amplification method, unlike MALDI-TOF, which is used in larger clinical labs to speed up bacterial identification from blood cultures. For country labs to benefit from MALDI-TOF, the specimen or bacterial isolate has to be referred to the city lab, which adds a delay to the process. In our series, FilmArray successfully identified the bacteria from country labs containing, and even coped with mixed cultures. In other words, it performed better than MALDI-TOF for the range of bacterial that cause infections in our regional communities. The quicker time to identification should translate into real improvements in choice of antibiotics and subsequent clinical outcomes.
Other options for country settings & elsewhere:
- FilmArray has been applied to rapid identification of bacteria in other sterile fluid samples.
- For those who’ve been following our Ebola stories, a FilmArray has been used in the recent EVD epidemic and its performance assessed.
- Further applications are appearing in the professional literature.
This interesting new technology is better than anything we’ve had for blood culture rapid ID by a country mile, but we need to be careful not to get too far ahead of ourselves. We have yet to demonstrate that the use of FilmArray for blood culture identification in country labs directly impacts clinical outcomes.
Expect more on better methods for country labs from the gnome factory in future.