Aspergillus fumigatus is considered the most prevalent airborne fungal pathogen that causes severe and often fatal invasive aspergillosis (IA) among immunocompromised individuals such as patients with leukemia or those who have undergone organ transplantation. A rapid test with high sensitivity and specificity for detecting A. fumigatus DNA in clinical specimens is required for successful antifungal therapy. Internal Transcribed Spacer sequence (ITS2) between the 5S and 28S genes exhibit species-specific polymorphisms suitable for distinguishing A. fumigatus from other fungi including genetically closely related species such as Neosartorya ficheri. A real time PCR test that can detect the presence of A. fumigatus DNA in BAL or biopsied tissue was developed on a Lightcycler (Roche) platform. A nested PCR protocol with A. fumigatus specific FRET probes is employed to achieve high sensitivity and specificity. The turn around time is 24 hrs and tests are run daily, Monday thru Friday.
For interesting cases employing this test methodology, please see our Clinical Significance page.