Point-of-care nucleic acid testing for infectious diseases

Trends Biotechnol. 2011 May;29(5):240-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Nucleic acid testing for infectious diseases at the point of care is beginning to enter clinical practice in developed and developing countries; especially for applications requiring fast turnaround times, and in settings where a centralized laboratory approach faces limitations. Current systems for clinical diagnostic applications are mainly PCR-based, can only be used in hospitals, and are still relatively complex and expensive. Integrating sample preparation with nucleic acid amplification and detection in a cost-effective, robust, and user-friendly format remains challenging. This review describes recent technical advances that might be able to address these limitations, with a focus on isothermal nucleic acid amplification methods. It briefly discusses selected applications related to the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, HIV, and perinatal and nosocomial infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / methods*
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods
  • Nucleic Acids / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acids / isolation & purification*
  • Perinatal Care
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis


  • Nucleic Acids