Researchers from the UK Health Protection Agency present in a Journal of Medical Microbiology paper published online in advance a real-time PCR assay targeting the cylB gene to detect Streptococcus agalactiae in clinical samples. In their paper, the HPA researchers write that "this real-time PCR assay was shown to be superior to culture methods for detection of GBS [Lancefield group B Streptococcus] from CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] and EDTA blood samples."
Study co-author Aruni De Zoysa tells The Telegraph that her group's new, PCR-based test is better than existing tests, which are "time-consuming and can sometimes be unreliable." De Zoysa adds that though it is still in the early stages of development, her group's test "is an invaluable tool that is based on detecting DNA, which makes diagnosis far more accurate and allows us to get results much faster. ... As there is no vaccine at present for GBS, rapid and accurate detection of the GBS bacterium is crucial to reduce the risk of infant deaths from GBS infection."