THURSDAY, May 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A portable rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platform can accurately detect Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG), according to a study published in the May 12 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Alexander Y. Trick, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues developed a Portable, Rapid, On-cartridge Magnetofluidic Purification and Testing (PROMPT) PCR platform to detect NG with simultaneous genotyping for ciprofloxacin susceptibility in less than 15 minutes. The test was integrated into a low-cost thermoplastic cartridge; urethral swab samples were automatically processed using functionalized magnetic beads. DNA extraction, PCR, and analysis of results were performed using a portable instrument, and data were relayed to the user via connection to a smartphone app. The platform was tested on penile swab samples from sexual health clinics in Baltimore (66 samples) and Kampala, Uganda (151 samples).

The researchers found that for NG detection, the overall sensitivity and specificity were 97.7 and 97.6 percent, respectively. There was 100 percent concordance with culture results for ciprofloxacin susceptibility.

“Our test maintains the same sensitivity and specificity currently used in hospital and clinic labs but reduces the cost and time involved,” Trick said in a statement. “We want these diagnostics to be available to all people who need it, when they need it.”

Two authors disclosed that they are the inventors of a related patent.

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