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Early diagnosis for hospital- and community-acquired infection

Along with MRSA, Clostridium difficile is proving to be a major problem for hospitals worldwide. Triggered by antibiotic use, C difficile is the main cause of hospital-acquired diarrhoea. In the UK, for example, more than 50,000 inpatients aged over 65 have been affected by C difficile infections. In addition, community-acquired infection seems to be rising, with more than 15,000 cases a year, three-quarters of which had not been in hospital. Since culture, the gold standard for testing, takes two to three days, Inverness Medical has introduced two new rapid tests. TechLab® TOX A/B Quik Chek and BioStar® OIA® CdTOX AB are specifically designed to enable swift diagnosis and subsequent isolation of patients, reducing cross contamination in clinical areas.

Delivering results in minutes, both tests qualitatively detect C difficile toxins A & B directly from human faecal specimens. Toxin A is an enterotoxin which appears to be responsible for the clinical symptoms of diarrhoea and colonic inflammation, while toxin B, potentially the most potent cytotoxin known to man, is responsible for the associated cell destruction. Clinical symptoms of C difficile associated disease (CDAD) were once thought to be solely due to toxin A. However, there is growing evidence that toxin B may also play an important role in the pathogenesis of C difficile.

According to Inverness Medical’s VP International Business, David Walton, it is becoming mandatory in an increasing number of countries to use a test that detects both toxins: “We believe the BioStar OIA and TechLab rapid tests offer the physician two valuable new options to obtain a rapid and accurate diagnosis and initiate appropriate patient management.”

The TechLab TOX A/B Quik Chek is a rapid format enzyme immunoassay test that offers 90.2% sensitivity. Using optical immunoassay technology, the BioStar OIA CdTOX AB assay provides qualitative detection of A and/or B toxins significantly faster than conventional enzyme immunoassays. A positive or negative result can be achieved in approximately 10 minutes.