Broad-Spectrum Molecular Detection of Fungal Nucleic Acids by PCR-Based Amplification Techniques

Over the past decade, the incidence of life-threatening invasive fungal infections has dramatically increased. Infections caused by hitherto rare and emerging fungal pathogens are associated with significant morbidity and mortality among immunocompromised patients. These observations render the coverage of a broad range of clinically relevant fungal pathogens highly important. The so-called panfungal or, perhaps more correctly, broad-range nucleic acid amplification techniques do not only facilitate sensitive detection of all clinically relevant fungal species but are also rapid and can be applied to analyses of any patient specimens. They have therefore become valuable diagnostic tools for sensitive screening of patients at risk of invasive fungal infections. This chapter summarizes the currently available molecular technologies employed in testing of a wide range of fungal pathogens, and provides a detailed workflow for patient screening by broad-spectrum nucleic acid amplification techniques.

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