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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

This edition of the Newsletter focuses on the challenges of detecting methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (SA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) by using molecular assays. Several companies today offer a range of products for SA and MRSA, so users understandably may be confused as to which assay to use. Dr. Ellen Jo Baron explains some of the obstacles that test manufacturers face when developing assays and keeping them current as this elusive microbe changes under our noses (pun unintended) in ways that could affect test performance. Her article highlights the differences between the two Cepheid nasal surveillance assays and presents our opinion on the optimal use of each assay. In fact, there is even a quiz for you to assess your understanding.

Kudos to our first winner of the "Best Case" contest, Dr. Anne Dubouix-Bourandy, from Toulouse, France. In keeping with our theme of SA and MRSA, Dr. Dubouix has been exploring (after validating) the use of the Xpert® MRSA/SA SSTI assay for samples collected from patients with bone and joint infections. Swabs from aspirated fluids and swabs taken during orthopedic surgical procedures are not among those listed on the product insert, so any users that contemplate this application would have to validate those sample types in their own laboratory, as Dr. Duboiux and colleagues have done. The case she describes here illustrates how a rapid Xpert® result made a huge difference in one patient's recovery from an infected knee. We think you will agree that this is a remarkable story, and we hope you will submit your most interesting examples of the impact that GeneXpert® technology has made in the lives of your patients somewhere in the world. Each winning case will be published in a future newsletter edition, and the submitter will receive a signed copy of the definitive reference book: Molecular Microbiology: Principles and Practices (second edition), edited by Dr. Fred Tenover and me.

Several other European investigators have also begun to extend the testing of the Xpert MRSA/SA SSTI to orthopedic infection sites. To round out this edition of the newsletter and to build on Dr. Dubouix's case, we have provided summaries of two recent abstracts from different French institutions that looked at similar utilization of the MRSA/SA SSTI assay. We look forward to reviewing your cases and hearing your comments about the newsletter (send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).