Journal of medical microbiology vol:46 issue:3 pages:188-94
Nucleic acid amplification technology is examined from the critical viewpoint of a clinical microbiologist working in a routine diagnostic bacteriology laboratory. Widely recognised limitations of amplification technology include those of false-positive and false-negative results, the difficulty of obtaining quantitative results, the problem of using this technology for susceptibility testing, and the difficulty of detecting routinely the wide range of possible pathogens contained in a clinical sample. On the positive side, amplification technology brings welcome new possibilities for rapid detection of specific pathogens in a sample, including viruses, slowly growing bacteria, fastidious or uncultivable bacteria, fungi and protozoa. Other possible applications include screening normally sterile clinical samples for non-specific bacterial contamination and the use of amplification-based DNA fingerprinting methods for identification and typing of microorganisms. Nevertheless, it is predicted that-in contrast to research and reference facilities-routine bacteriology laboratories will continue to rely on culture as the preferred 'amplification method' for most diagnostic applications.