Respiratory illnesses can be caused by an assortment of viruses and bacteria strains. The purpose of respiratory testing is to identify what specifically is causing a respiratory illness so the most appropriate treatment can be recommended. Due to the way in which viruses and bacteria can behave in the human body, it’s important to get accurate results as quickly as possible. We’re one of the few labs in the United States to have access to multiplex PCR technology that allows us to provide medical professionals with prompt, reliable results.
Embracing Advances in Respiratory Testing Technology
Testing for respiratory pathogens once relegated to culture-based diagnostics, which often meant waiting as long as a week or more for results. With polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, results can now be produced in hours, not days. Because results can be produced quickly, medical professionals can do more than simply confirm the source of a patient’s respiratory problem after the condition has progressed.
How Multiplex PCR Technology Works
Involving the amplification of several targets in a single PCR experiment, multiplex PCR technology is a form or respiratory testing that targets multiple sequences. Samples are prepared according to standard PCR primer design guidelines for either form of PCR template reaction used for respiratory testing. Factors such as primer length, melting temperature, and specificity are also considered. There are two basic categories of multiplexing reactions:
- Single Template PCR Reaction: Specific regions within a single template are amplified. These tests use several pairs of primers (forward and reverse) to determine the specific DNA fragment being amplified.
- Multiple Template PCR Reaction: Multiple templates are used and tests involve different primer sets in the same reaction tube.
How Samples Are Collected
Samples for respiratory testing are collected with a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) taken from the back of the nose and throat. There are no preparations necessary for collection.
Our Respiratory Panel Testing
We can provide test results for a total of 20 respiratory pathogens, 17 viruses and 3 types of bacteria. These pathogens include various influenza strains and many of the virus and bacteria strains that cause many common issues affecting the upper respiratory tract (nose, nasal passages, sinuses, and throat). Our respiratory testing is the most comprehensive panel currently available to detect various respiratory pathogens.
Benefits of Multiplex PCR Respiratory Testing
Having fast access to results with multiplex PCR testing has the potential to improve patient outcomes and decrease costs to the patient by starting the correct treatment sooner. Quick results may also minimize potential issues with over-prescribing antibiotics by ensuring that the right medications are prescribed. This often happens since many respiratory ailments have generic symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult without confirmation with a lab test. Our respiratory testing is also beneficial because of:
- Non-invasive sampling
- Accuracy that includes 95 percent sensitivity and 99 percent specificity
- Expedited overnight shipping options
The collected sample will be tested at our laboratory. Samples are typically processed within an hour. The results we provide are both expedient and comprehensive in nature so medical professionals can determine the best way to treat patients and assess how current treatments are working. Our detailed reports are conveniently accessible online.