Microbiology Time

Here are the last papers of 2023 that secured their place in our Microbiology Time:

  • In the first paper, researchers from the University of Rome developed a fast protocol for detecting SARS-CoV-2 contaminated surfaces, using a microbial-signature approach based on marker genes found in droplets and other body fluids. The team used available tools, including flocked swab sampling, to design an automated protocol that reduces the time needed to extract nucleic acids from environmental swabs to a quarter. Since equipment for qPCR is widely available and relatively inexpensive today, this approach can be a helpful tool for monitoring the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 or other pathogens in hospitals.
  • The second paper is a systematic review of oral swabs as an alternative to sputum for diagnosing pulmonary tuberculosis, published in The Lancet by E. C. Church and colleagues. Analyzing 16 eligible reports (20 studies and 3083 participants) to assess the diagnostic accuracy of oral swabs for diagnosing pulmonary TB in adults and children, the researchers evaluated oral-swabbing sensitivity from 36% to 91% in adults and 5% to 42% in children, while specificity ranged from 66% to 100%. Despite more research being needed to define optimal methods for using oral swabs as a specimen for tuberculosis detection, FLOQSwabs showed increased biomass collection relative to other sampling swabs, which has been linked to higher sensitivity.
  • The aim of the third study published by Jacques Schrenzel’s team was to evaluate the clinical performance of PhenoMATRIX and PhenoMATRIX PLUS in screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from nasal and inguinal/perineal samples using chromogenic media. The automated results were compared to manual readings. In addition, the researchers assessed PhenoMATRIX PLUS for the automatic release of negative results to the LIS and the automatic discharge of negative plates from incubators. The specificities of PhenoMATRIX and PhenoMATRIX PLUS were extremely high (99.1% and 95.2% respectively); All the MRSA-negative specimens analyzed by PhenoMATRIX PLUS were automatically released and sent to the LIS immediately after availability of the culture image on the WASPLab with 100% accuracy and all negative media plates were automatically discarded. The results are clear: PhenoMATRIX PLUS decreases technologists’ time on negative plates, ensuring optimal usage of incubators’ capacity

Read the full studies: