Moving to nucleic acid-based detection of genital Chlamydia trachomatis

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2002 May;2(3):257-66. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2.3.257.


Laboratory diagnosis of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis has gone through a complete phase of evolution since it was first identified as a significant cause of sexually transmitted infection. As a fragile, obligatory intracellular organism, it was initially only grown in eggs. Subsequently, diagnosis relied on culture in continuous cell lines. To address the limitations of culture, immunological methods were developed and direct antigen detection using enzyme immunoassay and immunofluorescence flourished. With the advent of molecular technologies, nucleic acid-based amplification techniques became the methods of choice, offering improved standard of care for diagnosis and opening up the possibility of screening using noninvasive, patient-acceptable specimens. In this article, the various currently available molecular methods are examined, some of the existing problems discussed and a view on what we think might happen in the next 5 years to the technology and requirement in diagnosis and screening is given.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia trachomatis / genetics*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Chlamydiaceae Infections / diagnosis*
  • Chlamydiaceae Infections / microbiology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Amplification
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / trends
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / trends
  • Point-of-Care Systems


  • DNA, Bacterial