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Laboratory Impact of Rapid Molecular Tests used for the Detection of Respiratory Pathogens by Jae Min Lee, Jong Ho Lee, Yu Kyung Kim

Background: With outbreaks of new respiratory viruses such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and swine-origin influenza A/H1N1, the nucleic acid-based amplification test was introduced to identify causative agents. Multiplex PCR, which can simultaneously detect various respiratory pathogens, is currently used worldwide. Recently, a new type of multiplexed molecular test using a fully automated workflow system was developed, which was also adapted to our laboratory. In this study, we assessed improvements in laboratory practice brought about by the implementation of the rapid test for the detection of respiratory viruses.
Methods: We investigated the number of routine and rapid tests conducted as well as the change in monthly test frequency of the routine test. We also analyzed the waiting time, turnaround time, and lead time for the routine and rapid tests. The Anyplex II RV16 detection kit (Seegene, Seoul, Korea) and Filmarray Respiratory Panel (BioFire Diagnostics, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT, USA) were used for the routine and rapid tests, respectively.
Results: Compared to the routine test, the rapid test significantly (p < 0.01) decreased the mean waiting time (1 hour 46 minutes), turnaround time (1 hour 45 minutes), and lead time (3 hours 32 minutes). After the implementation of the rapid test, the number of routine tests conducted was reduced over the 5-month period, from 13 times a month to 3 times a month.
Conclusions: The implementation of the rapid test for the detection of respiratory viruses improved the diagnostic efficiency of the laboratory and greatly reduced lead time.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2018.180411