The State Hygienic Laboratory has a range of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for a variety of infectious diseases. These tests use real-time PCR assay that target the DNA or RNA of a variety of bacteria such as pertussis (whooping cough) and viruses such as influenza. The tests are designed to detect select regions of nucleic acid that are unique to the specific pathogen being tested for. PCR testing is more sensitive than traditional methods and faster than culture based methods, with testing completed within hours instead of days.
A full list of tests that are available can be found on the clinical test menu
Molecular Test Development and Validation
Our molecular technologists and scientists have extensive experience in developing tests for use in clinical diagnostics and are able to add new Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) as needed, such as a test for the detection of the pandemic influenza 2009 H1N1, and a real-time RT-PCR test for mumps in response to a 2006 epidemic that affected nearly 1,500 Iowans. All LDTs are validated according to CLIA guidelines.
Examples of Molecular Diagnostic Studies and Translational Research
- Expertise in test development and validation, including studies for FDA clearance (510k).
- Test development and implementation of qPCR TREC assay for the newborn screening program to screen for babies with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
- Surveillance for respiratory pathogens from patients reporting to clinics with influenza-like illness. Testing includes a real-time PCR non-influenza respiratory virus panel for detection of RSV, adenovirus, rhinovirus/enterovirus, hMPV, Parainfluenza 1, 2, 3
- Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) Laboratory
- FERN Real-Time PCR Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) Serotypes O157:H7 and non O157:H7 Screening Method for the Applied BioSystems (ABI) 7500 Fast.
- Shigella spp. FERN Screening Method for the Roche LightCycler
Developed, validated and made available to all USDA and FDA FERN laboratories the following qPCR assays:
- Water Quality Testing
- qPCR for the detection of Enterococci species in water
- qPCR for the detection of Bacteroides species in water
- Source tracking
- Detection of human specific Enterococci
- Detection of human specific Bacteroides