June 6, 2020

Swiss Army Knife Of Lab Tests Makes The Most Of A Stool Sample

Is it the Swiss Army knife of lab tests? Or the the Ginsu? Either way,  the xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel (GPP), which recently received approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is one lab test that can do the job of many,  expertly scanning a solitary stool sample for 11 different illness-inducing organisms.

Woman's Torso Food PoisoningTo many, that sounds an impressive feat in an of itself. But considering that 179 million Americans are stricken with gastroenteritis every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s also one that can come in handy. Infectious gastroenteritis is caused by certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites and can be spread easily through person-to-person contact or from contaminated food, water, and surfaces. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.

The  xTAG can scan for  bacteria including Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) toxin A/B, Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157, Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) LT/ST, Salmonella, Shigella and Shiga‐like Toxin producing E. coli (STEC) stx 1/stx 2. It can scan for viruses including Norovirus and Rotavirus A. And it can scan for parasites such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

“Tests such as the XTag GPP that can detect viruses, bacteria, and parasites from one sample at the same time can help clinicians more quickly identify and treat what’s causing gastroenteritis,” said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiology at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The test could also allow clinicians and public health professionals to more quickly identify and investigate the source of potential gastroenteritis outbreaks.”

Luminex, Inc., of Austin, Texas, manufactures the xTAG.  It demonstrated the product’s performance by testing  samples from 1,407 patients with suspected infectious gastroenteritis and comparing the xTAG results to individual tests  known to reliably detect the 11 viruses, bacteria, or parasites associated. Results were found to be comparable.

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