Diagnostic Techniques and Technology

Immunoassays: Detection of microbial antigens in clinical samples has great potential for rapid diagnosis. Latex particle agglutination and coagglutination tests, enzyme linked immunoassays, and direct immunofluorescence antibody assays have been available for some years. Although medical microbiology laboratories have recognised the benefits of using these tests (technical simplicity, rapidity, specificity, and cost effectiveness), they have generally continued to use culture methods.3 In spite of their many advantages, immunoassays have poor sensitivity and low negative predictive value. The next generation of optical immunoassays may be more useful diagnostically.

Automated and semiautomated systems: Automated and semiautomated systems have been available for some years but without full realisation of their potential for rapid diagnosis. They fall into two main groups: identification and susceptibility testing instruments and blood culture systems. Whereas some identification and susceptibility testing instruments take as long as traditional methods, others provide results within a single working day.4 The full healthcare benefits are seen when a laboratory is staffed 24 hours each day and doctors are available to receive and act on the information day or night.


New technologies enable microbiology results to be available in minutes or hours rather than days.Immunoassays have benefits of technical simplicity, rapidity, specificity, and cost effectiveness but often have poor sensitivity and low negative predictive value.An ever increasing range of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa can be detected.

  • Revolutionizing Molecular Methods
  • Amplification Methods: Target, Probe and Signal
  • Nucleic acid probe hybridisation
  • The polymerase chain reaction
  • The ligase chain reaction
  • Transcription
  • Mediated amplification
  • The ligase chain reaction

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