Current and Future Prospects
Cepheid's next generation platform, the Xpert® system, addressed some of the problematic factors by simplifying the workflow and making on-demand testing feasible. The assay targets the SCCmec-orfX junction, and utilizes a self-contained cartridge containing all the reagents necessary for real time PCR. Swabs are placed into an elution fluid and vortexed; an aliquot is dispensed into a reagent cartridge, which is installed on the Xpert platform. Results are available in approximately 75 minutes. Capital investment for equipment and ongoing reagent costs remain a consideration with this system.
Another consideration for laboratories is throughput. Although the Xpert® platform offers excellent turnaround time, the largest system has 16 modules. Facilities that need to process very large volumes of specimens will require multiple modules, adding to capital considerations.
Large volume platforms that automate sample preparation, extraction, amplification, and detection in a real time format would represent the ideal, walk-away solution for many laboratories, as well as a target for development for manufacturers.