Posted on Mar 06, 2018, 7 p.m.
According to analysis led by UPMC a new blood testing method appears to be performing as well, if not even better than traditional blood cultures at detecting candidemia fungal yeast infections that commonly affect hospital patients. Quicker detection of this infection could potentially stop its spread and slow down growing drug resistance problems, as published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
T2Candida Panel is the first diagnostic test cleared by the US FDA that does not require culturing a blood sample from the patient to see what grows, that tests for candidemia infection. The trial was funded by T2 Biosystems which makes the panel which is used by UPMC.
With earlier accurate diagnosis treatment can be started on the correct medication which will hopefully allow the infection to be stopped before it spreads, with candidemia the shorter time administering medication the higher the survival rate. Candidemia is one of the 4 most common bloodstream infections in hospital within the USA, and within Canada it is the third most common. Candidemia mortality rate is 40%. Current blood cultures fail to detect yeast in close to 50% of infections due to Candida that typically take 2-3 days for provide apparent results.
Testing for candidemia using the new T2Candida Panel requires using a small vial of patient blood into a desktop machine which uses magnetic resonance to scan the blood for the 5 most common candida species, with results being available within 5 hours, a stark difference to the alternative of 2-3 days.
152 patients from 14 hospitals within the USA who had been diagnosed with candidemia by use of a blood culture were enrolled as participants for this trial. Using traditional methods it took on average 2 days for the cultures to identify that the patient had candidemia, with it taking an additional day and a half to specify the strain. In the T2Candida trial test which was positive in 89% at the time of cultures, the panel was significantly more likely to be positive with patients having recent candidemia, and in patients who were being treated with antifungal medications. The panel tested well in trials with limitations which includes not being able to assess whether it shortens the time to starting antifungal treatment or improvement of patient outcomes.
Evaluation of the T2Candida panel in direct clinical practice in order to determine if it can speed up treatment, cutting back unnecessary drug use, resulting in better outcomes in a more cost effective manner to identify candidemia cases that currently are not detected by blood cultures will be the next step in the process.
Materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.
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Cornelius J Clancy, Peter G Pappas, Jose Vazquez, Marc A Judson, Dimitrios P Kontoyiannis, George R Thompson, Kevin W Garey, Annette Reboli, Richard N Greenberg, Senu Apewokin, G Marshall Lyon, Luis Ostrosky-Zeichner, Alan H B Wu, Ellis Tobin, M Hong Nguyen, Angela M Caliendo. Detecting Infections Rapidly and Easily for Candidemia Trial, Part 2 (DIRECT2): A Prospective, Multicenter Study of the T2Candida Panel. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/cid/cix1095