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Diagnostic Technologies for Pathogen Identification

Microbiological Culture, or microbial culture, is a method of multiplying microbial organisms by letting them reproduce in predetermined culture medium under controlled laboratory conditions. 

  • 200 year old technology

  • Specimen stable for only a few hours at room temperature

  • Results in 2-4 weeks

  • 60% accuracy

  • Capable of identifying less than 1% of the known human pathogens

  • Pathologist required for interpretation

Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR is a laboratory technique of molecular biology based on the polymerase chain reaction.  It monitors the amplification of a targeted DNA molecule. 

  • Modern technology developed in the 1990s

  • Not easily affected by time and temperature

  • Results within 48 hours

  • 99% accuracy, but the laboratory needs to know which pathogens to identify (small panels only)

  • Identifies bacterial resistant genes

  • Pathologist interpretation not required

 

Next Generation Sequencing or NGS is the process of determining the precise order of nucleotides within a DNA molecule. 

  • Modern Technology developed in the 2000s

  • Not easily affected by time and temperature

  • Results within 3 to 5 days

  • 99.9% accuracy

  • Capable of identifying up to 25,000 human pathogens

  • Pathologist interpretation not required