Acolyte Biomedica introduces a new platform for its MRSA test, which promises to set the benchmark for laboratory-based screening of the bacterium by confirming negatives in five hours and positives within 24 hours.
The news is encouraging as one of the reasons MRSA has become so prolific is the inability to detect the bacterium within the crucial time period. Current processes are time-consuming and labour-intensive.
The new platform, designed for the company's BacLite Rapid MRSA test, allows a maximum throughput with up to 45 tests per run with one-minute hands on time per specimen.
BacLite flex is the only available objective rapid screening test for MRSA, which is culture-based and therefore able to differentiate between viable and dead cells.
Acolyte said that the BacLite flex would allow hospitals to screen patients for the presence of the superbug - an increasingly common infection causing up to 5000 deaths in the UK each year.
This information will enable infection control teams to act quickly to prevent a hospital-acquired infection at the same time minimising the cost of patient isolation.
Additionally, the new system can play a role in effective management of infection control, providing identification of colonised patients, fast screening of admissions, transfers and discharges leading to improved use of isolation resources.
"We have gained a wealth of information from clinical microbiologists in the six months since we entered the rapid MRSA screening market," said Acolyte chairman Tim Coombs.
"BacLite flex incorporates the full range of features requested by our customers and provides a flexible package for different specimen volumes and future single organism screening," he added.
MRSA costs the UK's National Health Service (NHS) around £1 billion per year, so reducing the incidence of the infection is poised to have a major financial impact.
The emergence of MRSA and VRSA infections is an additional threat to the public health crisis of antimicrobial resistance. Efforts to control MRSA/VRSA infections can no longer depend solely on surveillance, infection control efforts, and judicious antibiotic prescribing practices within the hospital setting.
Proactive patient education, aggressive diagnostic efforts, and effective treatment for MRSA/VRSA infections by outpatient clinicians, will not only improve patient care, but also protect communities and hospitals from an increasingly prevalent pathogen.