When to fire up large multiplex PCR?

Multiplex PCR panel tests for viral and gastrointestinal pathogens as well as the rapid identification of bloodstream infections can detect more pathogens more quickly than traditional microbiology methods. The question that continues to bedevil is how to offer this newer breed of tests.

The panels, offered by manufacturers such as BioFire, Luminex, and Nanosphere, come with hefty price tags that have prompted difficult questions about their appropriate use. Should multiplex PCR panel tests be restricted in some way, reserved for the sickest patients or those whose immune systems are compromised? Or should the door be open for clinicians to order them as they see fit?

My cover story in the January issue of CAP TODAY. Read the whole shebang.