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Scripps Study Shows Clinical Utility of Nanosphere Gram-Positive Blood Culture Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers at Scripps Health have published a study showing that Nanosphere's Verigene Gram-Positive Blood Culture Test has both clinical and economic benefits in a community hospital setting.

Led by Maggie Box of the San Diego-based health system's Department of Pharmacy, researchers conducted a study in five community hospitals to determine the clinical and economic impact of Verigene when used in rapid sepsis diagnostic testing. The sample-to-answer cartridge-based test automates nucleic acid extraction, purification, amplification (if required) and hybridization to detect 12 gram-positive  organisms known to cause sepsis and three genetic markers of antibiotic resistance within 2.5 hours of blood culture positivity.

Their study, published this week in Pharmacotherapy, follows a 2013 study from researchers at the University of Florida Health Jacksonville that also evaluated the Verigene test. That study only evaluated results for Enterococcus blood infections, whereas the new study is the first to evaluate the entire gram-positive panel, the authors said.

The new study concluded that implementing Verigene's assay with  intervention by an antibiotic stewardship team "can improve time to targeted antibiotic therapy, decrease length of stay, and reduce overall hospital costs in a community-based health care system," Box said in a statement.

"By improving time to targeted therapy, rapid diagnostics can help decrease use of unnecessary broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy," she added. "By doing this, we hope to decrease a patient's chance of experiencing an adverse consequence of antibiotic therapy and also minimize the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria."

Use of Verigene reduced the average time to targeted therapy to one and a half days from two and a half days. While time to targeted therapy was the primary study endpoint, the test showed statistically significant improvement on secondary endpoints as well, reducing the median length of stay in the hospital to about seven days from nine days, and leading to a reduction of $7,240 in median hospital costs per patient.

The results were important because they showed that rapid sepsis diagnostics with antibiotic stewardship team intervention could have an impact in a community hospital setting, the authors said in the study. Previous studies had been performed in academic medical centers.

"A majority of healthcare in the US is provided in community-based hospitals. These study findings demonstrate the profound impact on patient care and hospital costs the Verigene System can deliver to a wide spectrum of health care settings," Nanosphere CEO Michael McGarrity said in a statement.

The workflow developed for the study also could be useful for community hospitals. "We optimized our work flow to conduct rapid testing only during hours when physicians would be able to act on results," between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the authors wrote. "This time frame coincided with optimum staffing in the microbiology laboratory to be able to perform rapid testing."

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