Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Developer of anthrax quick test finds similar test for strep throat

29.07.2002


The culprit in bacterial streptococcus pharyngitis, or strep throat, can be vicious. Ask a parent who suspects their child has caught the virus, or the family of 29 Texans, including nine children, who died in 1997 after the bacteria manifested itself into a flesh eating disease. This virulent disorder used to cause physicians to order patients to immediately start taking antibiotics – even when a bacterial origin had not been established.



But taking antibiotics when not needed reduces the curative effects of antibiotics. That is why physicians applauded the introduction of the Rapid Streptococcal Antigen Test or the "rapid strep" test. Research indicates that this test, which takes about 20 minutes, is just as accurate as the much slower culture analysis. (If the rapid test is not clearly negative and symptoms exist, a doctor may also perform a regular culture.)

Advocates claim the rapid test is 80 to 90 percent sensitive in detecting group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus in throat swabs and 90 to 95 percent specific in eliminating streptococcal infection as a consideration in rapid test-negative patients. Detection of streptococci by rapid antigen tests or throat culture has consistently been shown to be a cost-effective strategy in the management of sore throat, independent of the issues surrounding antibiotic overuse.


But the leader of a team that developed a rapid test for anthrax exposure has completed an assessment of various testing procedures used in the rapid test and found the results wanting. He suggests that rapid antigen testing lacks sensitivity, negative results require a back-up culture and that its sensitivity may be declining. One alternative is rRNA (ribosomal ribonucleic acid) testing which has enhanced sensitivity but is still not as effective as a culture. His conclusion is that assessing PCR (polymerase chain reaction) using the same principle and diagnostic equipment in a proposed test for anthrax may offer the best test for bacterial strep throat.

The Study

Presenting “Rapid Testing for Streptococcal Infection: How Effective Is It?” is physician Franklin R. Cockerill III, Professor and Chair, Microbiology, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School, Rochester, MN. His comments will be offered at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). AACC (http://www.aacc.org/) is the scientific organization for clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, and research scientists. Their primary commitment is the understanding of laboratory testing to identify, monitor and treat human disease. More than 11,000 attendees are expected for the meeting, which is being held at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL, July 28-August 1, 2002.

Background

The most common manifestation of Group A streptococcus is “strep throat,” due to bacterial pathogens. Group A is responsible for 15-30 percent of cases reported. Characteristic symptoms are sudden onset of sore throat, pain on swallowing, fever, headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting; uncharacteristic symptoms include hoarseness, cough and diarrhea. The signs of the disease are redness and signs of pus in the throat.

The Preferred Test

Dr. Cockerill proposes “Rapid-cycle real time PCR” as the preferred test for bacterial streptococcus pharyngitis. PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, is an enzymatic method for the repeated copying and amplification of the two strands of DNA of a particular gene sequence. It is widely used in the detection of HIV.

He believes the LightCycler® instrument for polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays is the optimum diagnostic equipment to detect streptococcus group A bacterium, and is also suggested for anthrax detection. In comparing the Group A Streptococcus LightCycler® assay against the antigen/culture method, he found:


Processing and analytical time for 32 samples (specimens and controls) were 1.5 hours for PCR and up to 2 days for the antigen/culture method.
Personal time for administering the LightCycler® test was three minutes and seven minutes for the antigen/culture procedure.
Sensitivity was higher in all categories when compared against cultures (except an equal measure for legionella).

Conclusion

Dr. Cockerill finds that, when compared to cultures, time to process LightCycler® assays were significantly shorter than culture based tests.


Editor’s Note: To interview Dr. Cockerill, please contact Donna Krupa at 703.527.7357 (direct dial), 703.967.2751 (cell) or djkrupa1@aol.com.
Or contact the AACC Newsroom at: 407.685.4215.


Donna Krupa | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht FAU researchers demonstrate that an oxygen sensor in the body reduces inflammation
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>