Human papilloma virus (HPV) is estimated to be the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Digene's hybrid capture assay for HPV received approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003. Only in recent years have other manufacturers, such as Third Wave Technologies, added this virus to their testing capabilities.
Mycobacterium species represented another desirable target for molecular testing. Although some improvements in cultivation and staining techniques had been realized through the incorporation of broth media and fluorochrome staining, identification is still hampered by the growth rate of the organism.
Gen-Probe first marketed probes that would allow identification of tuberculosis, M. avium-intracellulare, and M. gordonae in culture positive specimens. These probes greatly streamlined the workup of culture positive specimens.
Of great interest to both clinicians and infection control practitioners, is the direct detection of Mycobacterium in clinical specimens. Gen-Probe received FDA approval for its AMPLIFIED MTDâ product for this specific application (in smear positive specimens) in 1995. This method employs isothermal transcription mediated amplification; the amplicons are detected using the same hybridization as the culture confirmation tests.