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White Paper: Diagnostic and Treatment Challenges for Mycoplasma genitalium

June 14th, 2018 / Christine Valle

Molecular testing has the potential to provide better sensitivity and improve public health

White Paper: Diagnostic and Treatment Challenges for Mycoplasma genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium is a pathogen responsible for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but its prevalence is widely underestimated. There is a major need to educate clinicians about the pathogen, especially because of the documented emergence of antimicrobial-resistant M. genitalium. A new white paper from Anjana Bhattacharya, Global Product Manager for Women’s Health at Luminex, offers a detailed look at M. genitalium and its public health impact.

In “Emerging STI Mycoplasma genitalium – Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment,” Bhattacharya delves into the history of our understanding of this pathogen, which was only discovered in the 1980s and first accepted as a source of STIs in the 1990s. Infection symptoms include inflammation in the urethra, discharge in the urinary tract, and painful urination.

Diagnosis is Critical

Diagnosing cases of M. genitalium infection is critical for reducing transmission, but there are several challenges to doing so. For one thing, the organism is quite finicky, taking as long as 6 months to show up in culture. “The turnaround time of culture makes patient outcomes bleak, as they cannot be treated in a reasonable time frame,” Bhattacharya writes. Molecular methods, therefore, are far more useful for detecting M. genitalium. Select labs have designed their own laboratory-developed tests for M. genitalium using nucleic acid amplification, but there is a pressing need for an FDA-cleared test for molecular detection of this pathogen.

Ideally, diagnostic tests would go beyond identification of M. genitalium to also detect markers of antibiotic resistance. “Due to rampant and emerging multidrug resistance, M. genitalium has already become difficult to treat on a syndromic basis,” Bhattacharya reports. “This need is even more emphatic as the slow growth rate of M. genitalium renders it non-responsive to a phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) approach, making molecular resistance typing highly desirable.” Such an approach would allow more precise treatment selection.

“The implication of prolonged M. genitalium infection on reproductive and sexual health for both men and women is making diagnostic testing of this fastidious organism more imperative than ever,” Bhattacharya concludes. “Molecular testing has the potential of both providing better sensitivity and improving public health by providing reliable results with faster turnaround times and improved workflows in this scenario.”

To read the complete story, download the white paper now.

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