May 2023 - Microbiology Updates
The Clinical Microbiology Lab has recently developed and launched 3 new clinical tests. These tests target recent outbreaks of emerging infections and organisms that are very difficult to perform susceptibility testing.
- In response to the recent mpox outbreak, the UCLA Clinical Microbiology lab developed and launched an mpox PCR for clinical diagnosis. We were one of the first UC labs to have the test available in-house. This test helped support the quick response to this new emerging disease.
- Klebsiella pneumoniae (a gram-negative enteric bacteria) can cause devastating systemic infection if they exhibit a "hypervirulent" phenotype. Early recognition of hypervirulence can allow for a change in clinical care and better outcomes for patients. There are very few reliable tests in the clinical lab that can recognize hypervirulence in Klebsiella pneumoniae isolates. We have developed and launched a whole genome sequencing assay that can reliably identify the hypervirulence phenotype by looking for the presence of bacterial genes associated with hypervirulence. The test has already identified numerous hypervirulent klebsiella strains from patients and had a positive impact on their care.
- Susceptibility testing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is important because multi-drug resistant strains are becoming more prevalent in the United States. Phenotypic susceptibility testing can take 3-5 weeks after organism identification, causing delays in appropriate therapy. We have developed and launched an MTB whole genome sequencing anti-microbial resistance test that is able to provide results in 1 week after organism identification. This test represents a new gold-standard in TB testing.
Sarah M. Dry, MD
Professor & Chair, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine