FHW Laboratory has implemented the Cepheid GeneXpert, a random access instrument that provides complete automation for PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) analysis. This technology, which until recently has been highly specialized and limited to esoteric laboratories, will allow caregivers to determine if a patient is positive for MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) within a few hours of specimen collection. The previous method to screen for MRSA required 24 hours for incubation, thereby delaying results by at least one – two days. In addition, this MRSA PCR technology is significantly more sensitive than the previous culture method, so even organisms that are not recoverable by culture will be detected.
Future assays on the horizon for PCR technology on the GeneXpert include the detection of MRSA from direct wound collection and positive blood cultures, Group B Streptococcus screening for OB patients , C. difficile, VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus), and Enterovirus in CSF.