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Fungal Molecular Diagnostics

Coccidioides species Real-time PCR

Slide 26

February 2011

Another PCR assay that has been very useful in our laboratory is the Coccidioides species real-time PCR assay, which can detect both Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii in respiratory specimens and tissue. This assay was developed to decrease the time required for detection the organism relative to the time required for growth of the organism in culture, which can be 10 or more days. The PCR assay is rapid compared with culture, is more sensitive and specific than serology, and has the additional advantage of providing improved safety for laboratory workers since they spend less time manipulating growing cultures of this highly infectious mold. We utilize the Coccidioides PCR assay in several ways. It is used for the rapid identification of Coccidioides from organisms grown in culture. This provides us with another method of identification should the nucleic acid hybridization probe ever experience availability problems, plus it obviates the need for the lab to keep a growing culture of Coccidioides in the laboratory as a positive probe control. Continuous culture of Coccidioides is a problem for laboratories because not only is it a safety hazard for lab personnel, but it is a regulatory headache since Coccidioides species are listed as Select Agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Select Agent program. Finally, the PCR assay has been extremely useful for the direct detection of Coccidioides species from patient respiratory, body fluid, and tissue specimens where it can provide a rapid turnaround time without the need to wait for a culture to grow.

Coccidioides species Real-time PCR


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