Molecular techniques have provided a new understanding of the epidemiology of mucormycosis and improved the diagnosis and therapeutic management of this life-threatening disease. PCR amplification and sequencing were first applied to better identify isolates that were grown from cultures of biopsies or bronchalveolar lavage samples that were collected in patients with Mucorales infection. Subsequently, molecular techniques were used to identify the fungus directly from the infected tissues or from bronchalveolar lavage, and they helped to accurately identify Mucorales fungi in tissue samples when the cultures were negative. However, these tools require invasive sampling (biospsy, bronchalveolar lavage), which is not feasible in patients in poor condition in Hematology or Intensive Care units. Very recently, PCR-based procedures to detect Mucorales DNA in non-invasive samples, such as plasma or serum, have proved successful in diagnosing mucormycosis early in all patients, whatever the clinical status, and these procedures are becoming essential to improving patient outcome.
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