Hospital Infections Boost Use of In Vitro Diagnostic Tests, Report Finds

Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) remain a problem for the healthcare system, and a problem in which new diagnostic products can play a role, according to Kalorama Information. In its report, "The Worldwide Market for In Vitro Diagnostic Tests," the healthcare market research publisher details how sophisticated molecular tests that can quickly identify patients for isolation and treatment are being utilized despite their higher price tag. Kalorama forecasts that revenues for molecular tests that detect HAIs will grow at 25 percent per year for the next five years.

"They are growing at four times the rate of the average IVD products," says Shara Rosen, senior diagnostic analyst for Kalorama Information and the author of the report. "HAIs are a huge problem and this is an opportunity for the most logical tests to treat them."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that HAIs affect nearly 2 million Americans annually, resulting in 90,000 deaths and up to $6.5 billion in extra costs. A 2009 edition study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 51 percent of patients in nearly 1,300 intensive care units in 75 countries were suffering from some kind of hospital-acquired infection. MRSA, the most notorious of them all, accounts for about 10 percent of these infections. Other problem pathogens include C. difficile, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus and drug-resistant Acinetobacter.

Kalorama Information's report details several approaches to HAI detection. On the conservative and least expensive side are chromogenic growth media that permit the selective growth of MRSA bacteria and produce a colored colony that is easily recognizable. On the more expensive side, there has been an explosion of user-friendly molecular assays that have been widely accepted. Cephid, Becton Dickinson and Seegene are among the companies with products to test for HAIs. The advantage of these molecular tests is that they can provide highly sensitive rapid turnaround results. Their popularity, according to the report is growing but not universal.

"Screening with molecular tests has its defenders and opponents," Rosen says. "The defenders suggest that the cost of molecular screening tests, especially for MRSA, allow carrier patients to be segregated from the rest of the population. The opponents say that techniques such as chromogenic growth media identify carriers in enough time to limit the damage they can do."

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