MOLECULAR DIAGNOSTICS IN THE CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY: NEW DEVELOPMENTS
Molecular diagnostics is broadly available in clinical microbiology laboratories worldwide, especially for the detection and identification of difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms. The field of clinical microbiology has experienced significant changes over the past decade due to extensive molecular biology research that resulted in novel molecular diagnostics technologies. These new technologies are being introduced in clinical microbiology laboratories with the aim of improving sensitivity, specificity, accuracy and time-to-diagnosis, ensuring valuable data for effective infectious disease clinical management, infection control and surveillance. They have a potential to greatly improve general healthcare, but also present certain challenges, mainly regarding the cost and the proper definition of test ordering and interpretation. This review will discuss the current and potential application of next-generation sequencing, digital PCR and syndromic multiplex molecular assays in clinical microbiology.