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Detecting sexually transmitted diseases.

In the past, accurate detection of chlamydia and gonorrhea, two of the worlds most common sexually transmitted diseases, was difficult. Now, though, a break-through technology can catch even small amounts of chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria in urine.

Using an amplified DNA probe technology called URIprobe, infection can be discovered in patients who otherwise would go undiagnosed. Early detection can mean a better prognosis and fewer complications such as ectopic pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, or infertility, as well as a cutback in the spread of infection.

The URIprobe has demonstrated a sensitivity that is 30% greater than the standard tissue culture for chlamydia. It first isolates a single target DNA contained in a chlamydia and gonorrhea organism. The DNA then is amplified enzymatically using multiple cycles of heating and cooling. This process is repeated up to 40 times, with each strand of DNA being doubled every cycle. The result is a sample containing up to 1,000,000,000 copies of the original target DNA sequence, making bacteria much easier to detect.

"The greater sensitivity of the URIprobe is particularly important in diagnosing asymptomatic patients whose condition may go undetected by other diagnostic testing assays and thus would continue to transmit infection," notes Ella Swierkosz, director of the Microbiology Laboratory at Saint Louis (Mo.) University Hospital, An additional advantage is that physicians can test female or male patients for chlamydia and gonorrhea using a single urine specimen, a sample that until now was not adequate for detecting these bacteria. This method is more comfortable for patients than swab sampling and is more convenient for initial testing and diagnosis, follow-up exams for patients and their partners, and prenatal testing.
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Title Annotation:URIprobe, an amplified DNA probe, detects infectious diseases that would otherwise go undiagnosed
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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