The first rapid blood test to detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) received Food and Drug Administration approval in January. Previously available tests take between 24 and 72 hours to yield results and can't distinguish between strains of staph bacteria. In 2 hours, the BD GeneOhm StaphSR Assay can detect both MRSA and S. aureus. In clinical trials at five locations, the new test identified 100% of specimens infected with MRSA and more than 98% with S. aureus.
The manufacturer, BD Diagnostics, has submitted applications to expand rapid testing to nasal swabs and wound specimens, and is developing rapid assays to identify vancomycin-resistant enterococci and the toxin gene associated with Clostridium difficile.
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