The PLEX-ID system is a novel technology that couples PCR amplification and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry to identify pathogens directly in clinical specimens. The analytical performance of the PLEX-ID Broad Fungal assay was compared with that of traditional culture identification by using 91 characterized fungal culture isolates (64 manufacturer-claimed and 27 nonclaimed organisms) and directly by using 395 respiratory specimens. Discordant results were resolved by D2 large-subunit ribosomal DNA fungal sequencing. Environmental studies were performed to monitor for potential contamination. The PLEX-ID Broad Fungal assay correctly identified 95.6% (87/91) and 81.3% (74/91) of the culture isolates to the genus and species levels, respectively. Of the manufacturer-claimed organisms, 100% (64/64) and 92.2% (59/64) were correctly identified to the genus and species levels, respectively. Direct analysis of respiratory specimens resulted in 67.6% (267/395) and 66.6% (263/395) agreement with culture results to the genus and species levels, respectively, with 16.2% (64/395) of the results discordant with culture and 16.2% (64/395) not detected by the system. The majority (>95%) of the isolates not detected directly by the PLEX-ID system ultimately grew in low quantities in culture (≤20 colonies). In 20.3% (35/172) of the respiratory specimens where no growth was observed in culture, the PLEX-ID system identified a fungus, suggesting a potential increase in sensitivity over culture in some instances. The PLEX-ID system provides a rapid method for the detection of a broad array of fungi directly in respiratory specimens and has the potential of impacting turnaround times and patient care by reducing the need to wait for the growth of an organism in culture.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)