Enhancing Medicine through the Laboratory
Bacterial Identification is one of the aspects of medicine that is advancing the quickest. Only one decade ago, the primary means of bacterial identification or fungal identification was utilizing a microscope and a textbook to compare the various forms of organisms. The problem with this technique for bacterial identification is obvious. First, many bacteria and fungal have very similar structures and morphologies. This has led to the recent reclassification of dozens of species because DNA evidence lead to a more accurate classification for so many bugs. The next step in bacterial identification has become PCR. The inception of PCR was not the turning point in this process, it was the more recent reduction in price and enhancements in technology that allowed nearly every laboratory to own and operate a PCR with little cost and training. The analysis still takes an expert, but these initial advances in bacterial identification has lead labs to create and utilize even more accurate techniques nowadays.
The most recent advance in PCR technique is what is known as cGMP bacterial and fungal identification. This process utilizes the rRNA of organisms, and compares the sequences to a database which accurately and quickly identifies the exact species and strain of the organism. This technique is important in its accuracy, price, speed and requirements for identification. Most importantly, the organisms being tested do not need to be cultured. This was one problem that lead many medical experts to miss the existence of several bacteria. The challenge in finding a suitable culture can lead to misdiagnoses and mistreatment. However, with cGMP bacterial and fungal identification the species no longer needs to be viable. Any bacteria, alive or dead, can be tested and identified quickly and easily. This technique is the one that most healthcare centers are now turning to, in order to receive faster accurate feedback, which allows for earlier treatment.