How Quickly Will New Methods Replace Culture?
If there is any area of the lab in which the term revolutionary rightly is being applied, it has to be for rapid pathogen identification. Today, the great Louis Pasteur, a founding father of microbiology who lived in the 1800s, would feel at home with culture methods still widely in use that rely on superb technique and abundant patience, with days or even weeks-long turnaround times. In the future, however, culture likely will be a sideline in a field dominated by molecular diagnostic and mass spectrometry (MS) methods that give results rapidly—in hours or less—and in point-of-care (POC) or near-POC settings, according to experts. This juggernaut of change has profound implications for patient outcomes, the cost and efficiency of care, lab practice, and, most significantly, global antimicrobial stewardship efforts.
The Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Revolution