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Staphylococcus aureus (SA) nasal carriage screening is usually based on either culture or molecular biology. The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance of the Panther Fusion® MRSA Assay (PF) that proposes a complete automation of the molecular screening for MSSA and MRSA carriage. Four hundred thirty-four nasal samples collected on ESwab™ were screened using PF. Results were compared with standard culture on BBL™ CHROMagar™ Staph aureus and chromID® MRSA agar. Discordant results were analyzed with additional techniques: Xpert SA Nasal Complete on GeneXpert (GX), culture on selective agar after 24 h in broth enrichment, and, if necessary, characterization of mec gene and SCCmec cassette using DNA microarray. The PF presented an overall agreement of 97.5% for SA detection and 97.9% for MRSA detection. Furthermore, 7.1% (31/434) of the samples were SA-negative in primary culture but SA-positive using PF and GX, confirming the greater sensitivity of molecular tests compared with culture. Of note, 4 out of 30 MRSA-positive samples were not detected due to an atypical SCCmec cassette, while 2 samples were falsely detected as MRSA due to co-colonization with a MSSA drop-out strain and a methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococcal strain. Considering all results, the PF instrument appears as a reliable and rapid (< 3 h) package for MSSA/MRSA nasal screening. This technology using random access capability and direct sampling of the primary container is innovative and corresponds therefore to a new step in complete molecular biology automation in bacteriology.


Eugénie Maurin, Anne-Gaëlle Ranc, Lelia Abad, Michèle Bes, Claude-Alexandre Gustave, François Vandenesch, Céline Dupieux-Chabert, Anne Tristan, Frédéric Laurent. Performance of the Hologic Panther Fusion® MRSA Assay for the nasal screening of methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage. European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases : official publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology. 2020 Nov;39(11):2169-2176

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PMID: 32643026

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