Nucleic acid testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea

A recently published study has highlighted the economic and clinical benefits of incorporating a near patient nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae into genitourinary medicine clinics. 

Sponsored by molecular diagnostics company Cepheid, this prospective study estimates savings of up to £11.75m per annum from the adoption of laboratory-standard POC NAATs, such as Cepheid’s Xpert CT/NG.

Cepheid Xpert CT/NG in-clinic analyser

Recent advances in technology have enabled the latest generation of in-clinic analysers – such as Cepheid’s GeneXpert series – to offer rapid, PCR-based testing at the point of patient care. This new generation of assays can provide laboratory quality results within 90 minutes, while significantly reducing space and staff training requirements.

Dr Patrick Horner, co-­author of the paper and Consultant Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, explained: “The poor performance of traditional enzyme immunoassay POC tests for chlamydia and gonorrhoea resulted in poor uptake, as clinicians simply didn’t have confidence in the technology. Nucleic acid-based POC testing is a quantum leap from previous methods; it has the potential to substantially change the way we manage patients, leading to better-informed clinical decisions and helping to reduce patient anxiety.”

Dr Elisabeth Adams, Director and Founder of Aquarius Population Health, added: “One of the biggest potential areas of cost savings is the elimination of sub-optimal or inappropriate treatment. The availability of POC testing results at the patient’s appointment should ensure the most appropriate antimicrobial is used, avoiding treatment altogether for those who do not have an infection.”

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