Bengaluru lab’s RT-PCR kit detects mucor in 48 hours | Bengaluru News – Times of India


A Dutch RT-PCR test kit has been validated by a Bengaluru lab to detect mucormycosis, the deadly fungal infection, through blood samples. Results can be delivered in 24 to 48 hours.

BENGALURU: A Dutch RT-PCR test kit has been validated by a Bengaluru lab to detect mucormycosis, the deadly fungal infection, through blood samples. Results can be delivered in 24 to 48 hours.
Currently, most patients with mucormycosis are being treated based on symptoms which manifest in the nose, eyes, jaw and brain of infected people. The gold standard diagnosis for the infection is to isolate and test for the fungus through cell culture studies. But this takes 10 to 15 days, during which time the infection spreads, leading to loss of vision and even life. ‘KOH microscopy test’ is another that is widely used, and while it yields swift results, it does not pick up infections if the fungi load is less.
Now, Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory (MDL) of Narayana Nethralaya at Narayana Health City has validated a Dutch RT-PCR kit to diagnose mucormycosis.
Called ‘MucorGenius’, the new RT-PCR test picks up nucleic acid from the fungus and it could save patients’ eyesight and lives through early detection, said Dr Bhujang Shetty, chairman, Narayana Nethralaya. The test costs Rs 7,000.
“The test works even if the fungal load is less as it detects genetic material or the nuclei code of the fungi,” said Dr Venkat Raman A, director, MDL. “The test can detect five species of mucor families called ‘pan mucorace’. Blood and tissue from the biopsy are considered biomarkers for the test.”
Dr Raman said the ‘KOH microscopy test’ does not differentiate between different types of fungi. “It picks up infection by detecting fungal filaments. This is done by staining samples with potassium hydroxide (KOH) preparation. It is cheapest test available, but accuracy is an issue,” he said.
Dr Shetty, who is also a member of the state government’s mucormycosis expert panel, said mucormycosis is caused by a group of filamentous fungus belonging to a family called mucoraceae. “Being an invasive disease, early diagnosis is of great importance. This test will help successfully manage patients with an appropriate anti-fungal treatment and avoid morbidity and mortality,” he said.
MucorGenius has received CE-IVD (European Community In-Vitro Diagnostic device) certification. About 15 samples have been tested in the lab. The lab is already receiving samples from other private hospitals.

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Sagar Biswas

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