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.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.