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Friday, December 23, 2016 Written by David Persing M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical and Technology Officer, Cepheid

From the Editor

In this issue of On Demand, Dr. Ellen Jo Baron provides an interesting and provocative commentary on the decades-long evolution of molecular diagnostic tests for sexually transmitted infections caused by Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. During the initial evaluation phases of nucleic acid amplification testing for these organisms, there was much concern about the rates of apparent false positive results. A significant number of PCR positive cases were negative by traditional culture-based methods, and it took several years for the testing community to understand that PCR was more sensitive than culture. Ultimately, patients benefitted because more of them were diagnosed and treated properly.

However, the problem of false positive results has been a persistent one, and especially when these tests are applied to low-prevalence populations, complications can arise. Moreover, testing is still inconvenient for patients and lengthy turnaround times are often inconsistent with optimal patient management. The good news is that Next-Generation testing for CT/NG has arrived…and it's about time.