The application of molecular technologies to aid diagnosis and management of infectious diseases has had a major impact and many assays are in routine use. Diagnosis of aspergillosis has lagged behind. Lack of standardization and limited commercial interest have meant that PCR was not included in consensus diagnostic criteria for invasive fungal disease. In the last ten years careful evaluation and validation by the Aspergillus European PCR initiative with the development of standardized extraction, amplification and detection protocols for various specimen types, has provided the opportunity for clinical utility to be investigated. PCR has the potential to not only exclude a diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis but in combination with antigen testing may offer an approach for the early diagnosis and treatment of invasive aspergillosis in high-risk populations, with the added benefit of detection of genetic markers associated with antifungal resistance.
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