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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 10 (1999), Suppl C, Pages 16C-24C

Rapid Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections Using Technologies Based on Nucleic Acid Detection

François J Picard and Michel G Bergeron

Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Université Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing methods used in clinical microbiology laboratories generally require at least two days. This long delay often forces physicians to treat patients presumptively with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Novel diagnostic tests based on the detection of nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) offer a great potential for the rapid (approximately 1 h) diagnosis of bacterial infections. The present article reviews various aspects of the development and validation of nucleic acid-based assays suitable for the detection and identification of bacteria as well as for the detection of associated antibiotic resistance genes. The potential of these assays for routine use in clinical microbiology laboratories is also discussed.