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New lab test can detect chlamydia in less than 20 minutes

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Researchers have developed a new qualitative and quantitative procedure for swift detection of chlamydia that can be easily carried out at the point of care during a patient's visit. Being able to rapidly identify one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that affects humans is the result of successful lab tests and is a massive step forward in the treatment of STDs.

Published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, the research was led by Ulo Langel, Ph.D., professor of molecular biotechnology at the University of Tartu in Estonia.

The procedure detects chlamydia directly from urine samples as opposed to the traditional method of purifying total DNA from samples, which is a far more tedious process. Because of this, the new method eliminates the necessity of specialized equipment, reducing the cost of chlamydia detection procedures and taking up less time. Its simplicity makes it applicable to various point-of-care environments, from private practices to large-scale hospitals.

Current techniques for testing the presence of chlamydia are only acceptable for hospital use with professionally trained staff and expensive machinery that small practices typically cannot afford. Some studies have also shown that half of patients who come in for exams do not return to receive results or adequate treatment. Even though numerous point-of-care lab tests have previously been established, none of them are as efficient as hospital exams. Analysis showed the reliability of the new procedure, with sensitivity at 83 percent and specificity of diagnosis at 100 percent.

"The alarmingly poor performance of the available POC tests for C. trachomatis has limited their wider use, and there is a clear requirement for more sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic platforms. Hence, the need for an applicable on-site test that offers reasonably sensitive detection," affirmed Langel.

Chlamydia in the US
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the U.S., with an estimated 2.8 million cases being reported every year. In 2011, more than 1.4 million cases were recorded from the 50 states.

Chlamydia affects between 5 and 10 percent of the population and is especially common among adults under the age of 25. Its prevalence is a major health concern because a large number of cases go unreported due to most people not displaying symptoms or going through blood testing. Untreated cases can lead to serious health issues such as infertility in men or, in women, spreading to a newborn within the womb.

It is important that sexually active individuals utilize lab tests online at their disposal to properly detect chlamydia.

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