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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 371-377

Future of diagnostic microbiology


Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Correspondence Address:
N Khardori
Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, Virginia
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.142233

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Diagnostic Microbiology is the tool that makes it possible to identify the exact etiology of infectious diseases and the most optimal therapy at the level of individual patients as well as communities. Conventional methods require time to grow the microbes in vitro under specific conditions and not all microbes are easily cultivable. This is followed by biochemical methods for identification which also require hours and sometimes days. Transport of the specimens under less than ideal conditions, prior use of antibiotics and small number of organisms are among the factors that render culture-based methods less reliable. Newer methods depend on amplification of nucleic acids followed by use of probes for identification. This mitigates the need for higher microbial load, presence of metabolically active viable organisms and shortens the time to reporting. These methods can be used to detect antibiotic resistance genes directly from the specimen and help direct targeted therapy. Since these methods will not fulfill all the diagnostic needs, a second approach is being used to shorten the time to identification after the organism has already grown. Mass spectrometry and bioinformatics are the tools making this possible. This review gives a historical perspective on diagnostic microbiology, discusses the pitfalls of current methodology and provides an overview of newer and future methods.






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2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
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