In the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, researchers led by Texas A&M Health Science Center's Arundhati Rao discuss their comparison of two nucleic-acid based assays and plated cultures to detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection from nasal swabs. They report that the sensitivity and specificity of both the LightCycler MRSA advanced test and the Xpert MRSA test were comparable to that of culture. "However, sequencing performed on 71 samples with discordant results among the three methods confirmed the presence of MRSA in 40 percent of samples that were positive by both molecular methods but negative by culture," the team adds. They also note that the LightCycler approach has less hands-on time and has batching capabilities that makes it more efficient than the other methods.
Also in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, the University of Arizona's Donna Wolk and her colleagues review the use of PCR-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry in diagnostics labs. "PCR–electrospray ionization mass spectrometry has emerged as a technology that is capable of identifying nearly all known human pathogens from microbial isolates or directly from clinical specimens," they write, adding that "the method can identify genetic evidence of known and unknown pathogens."