Laboratoires Réunis is a private medical laboratory that has established itself as a national leader in Luxembourg and the Greater Region (Saarland DE, Lorraine FR, and Province Luxembourg BE). With ties to health care providers and practitioners, laboratory testing services and distributors around Europe and South America, the laboratory is helping its clients make real strides in the field of molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine. With approximately a thousand laboratory samples coming in each day, Laboratoires Réunis faces a challenge to ensure all analysis is conducted as quickly and effectively as possible.
In order to provide this quality service, the laboratory had to ensure that its diagnostic kits were capable of providing accurate results within a short timeframe. With PCR-based diagnostics becoming increasingly established in clinical laboratories, this technique proved to be a valuable asset to streamlining and expanding the work being done in the organisation.
PCR-based systems detect the agents of disease directly from clinical samples, without the need for culture. This is particularly valuable in the fast detection of fastidious microorganisms, along with those which cannot be grown in the laboratory. Additionally, sequence analysis of amplified microbial DNA allows for identification and better characterization of pathogens.
To further increase the diagnostic capacity of typical Real-time PCR, multiplex PCR has been developed. The term multiplex refers to the fact that detection of numerous pathogens is carried out simultaneously. The technique is useful for simultaneous identification of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites and can save significant time, effort and money, making it an ideal choice for Laboratoires Réunis.
Multiplex PCR kits
Laboratoires Réunis chose multiplex Real-time PCR kits from Fast-track diagnostics to conduct a range of diagnostic tests. Fast-track diagnostics is a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of infectious disease detection kits using Real-time PCR and has the largest selection of kits available – testing over 100 pathogens. For a high-throughput, wide-ranging laboratory like Laboratoires Réunis, this extensive range is exceptionally useful in allowing them to conduct the wide variety of applications required by their customers.
Fast-track diagnostics kits have an innovative syndromic approach which allows clinicians to perform a complete screening for pathogens responsible for specific clinical syndromes. The system aids the identification of the underlying cause of most infections faced in clinical labs; respiratory infections; gastroenteritis; meningitis; sexually transmitted infections; fever, rash and childhood infections; eye infections; infections of the immunosuppressed; hepatitis; and tropical fever. Clinicians do not need to request that a specific pathogen be tested for, but can identify the cause in a single test.
The syndromic approach has helped Laboratoires Réunis acquire a unique position in infectious disease diagnosis and switch a big portion of its classical methods in microbiology (microscope, culturing, serology, and so on) to Real-time PCR, reducing hands-on time and still achieving fast, accurate results.
In addition more efficient diagnosis of infectious diseases, the cost-effective tests offer excellent levels of sensitivity and specificity. This combination of assets means they are an important tool to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. With more efficient and accurate diagnosis in place, pathogens can be identified more effectively and targeted treatment and precautions taken.
Considering the current climate and the focus on infectious disease, it is crucial to the laboratory that they have consistent access to new tests and developments. Laboratoires Réunis is provided with the latest kits as soon as they are available in order to diagnose infections such as influenza H1N1, MERS and EBOLA. In addition, staff at the laboratory are assisted in setting up very specific and customised Real-time PCR set ups specifically for their needs.
Every new kit has the same protocol and amplification profile, meaning they are easy to adopt – they also work in the most common hardware found in laboratories. User efficiency is a final, crucial aspect of the kits which makes them ideal for use in this setting. The kits simplicity means introducing them into typical microbiology laboratories is straightforward, as is familiarising staff in their use. In addition, trained experts are on hand to provide fast and efficient troubleshooting should there ever be any problem.
Since adopting Real-time PCR kits, Laboratoires Réunis has found itself better equipped to provide fast, reliable analysis and has seen a marked increase in the number of patients and clinicians it serves. For example, in 2010 Laboratoires Réunis ran 2600 bacterial gastroenteritis Multiplex-tests, while in 2014 this had increased to approximately 6000.
Furthermore, turn around time has dramatically reduced and urgent samples are guaranteed to be processed that day in 4 to 5 hours. Using previous culture techniques, negative samples required 11 minutes of hands-on time per sample, with a final report after 48 hours. Positive samples called for 36 minutes of hands-on time per sample, and generated a final report after 48 – 96 hours.
However, when using PCR, negative samples required 10 minutes of hands-on time per sample and generated a final report after just 5 hours. Positive samples still call for 36 minutes of hands-on time per sample, and generated a final report after 48 – 96 hours, but the type of bacteria is identified after five hours. Clinicians therefore have the ability to start a treatment with the first choice antibiotics if necessary. Such a massive time reduction means healthcare professionals can treat their patients more efficiently and provide better care.
Laboratoires Réunis’ dedication to delivering rapid, accurate analysis and diagnosis has made it a leader in its region, but this would not be possible without the correct equipment and techniques. By including Real-time PCR in its laboratories, as well as multiplex kits, turn around has increased and the business has grown, with no compromise whatsoever to accuracy or reliability.
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Note: Two of the stakeholders in Fast-track diagnostics are directors at Laboratoires Réunis’