Life Science Research Advancements In STD Testing
Time-consuming processes, high expense, and lack of access to testing labs used to be the biggest problems with STD testing. It could take days for elaborate bioassays to determine results. This was important to get the best, most accurate result.
Today, however, there has been an explosion of new technologies and STD testing methods that make it far cheaper and easier for the 448 million new cases of curable STIs each year to be diagnosed early and treated.
Today, there are at least 3 new ways to get STD tested that don’t even require a doctor’s visit or a trip to the hospital.
New Developments Are Ensuring That Tests Are More Accessible, Accurate, And Convenient.
The introduction of FDA-approved POC platforms has led to greater availability of treatment options and resources. These recent advancements in point-of-care STD testing are designed with three simple aims. They decrease turnaround times, provide greater accuracy and reduce the need for physician visits. The standard waiting time of a few days can now be reduced dramatically to a few hours or less.
This is essential in rural areas with minimal facilities. There is little chance of some patients driving to a screening to return in a few days for results. This applies especially to those trying to maintain some privacy in their day-to-day lives. Rural POC platforms provide a local, friendly service that is quick and convenient.
Recent advancements in STD testing in the home also mean that more people can test for different diseases within the comfort of their homes. This is important for those needing special testing kits that are difficult to come by in local clinics.
It also helps all those distressed by the idea of heading to a hospital with such a personal problem. In-home HIV identification kits are now providing results in less than 20 minutes. There is also a new FDA-approved kit that can test for HIV and syphilis within a single specimen.
Advancements In Testing Processes And The Accuracy Of Results Mean Patients In Rural America Can Receive Better Treatment Options.
An excellent example of this is the NAAT test. This nucleic acid amplification test is used in testing Chlamydia and gonorrhea. This test covers a lot of bacteria within the measurement matrix to increase the likelihood of detection. POCT advancements now mean that centers can screen for these pathogens. There is still work to do to improve the accuracy and sensitivity of these kits, as some are as low as 12%. This is why this NAAT laboratory test is still so important.
However, recent advancements in these POCT STD testing kits have increased sensitivity and reproducibility. This means clinics across the country now have a better chance of determining a diagnosis. This local service could make all the difference for rural patients. The difference between a long wait for results from an outside lab upstate and a 20-minute wait within that local, friendly center.
These Recent Advancements In The Range Of STD Testing Options Also Mean That Labs Can Expand Into New Territory.
At-home testing kits now expect that these labs can cater to a wider audience for a greater variety of STDs. An excellent example of this ability to branch out into new areas is the test for trichomonas. This bacteria is said to be responsible for 187 million STIs across the world, but it is tricky to pin down.
Thankfully, there is a new POC test that looks at Trichomonas vaginitis membrane proteins and immunochromatographic capillary flow. This test can be carried out in this remote location with results in as little as 10 minutes. There are also NAAT tests that are improving in accuracy and speed. Additionally, there are new serum sample tests for syphilis that are becoming more sensitive than traditional RPR tests.
There is still work to be prepared to bring more STD testing options to more people with greater accuracy and efficiency. Research is ongoing. There is an HPV point-of-care test in development that is expected to offer 99.9% detection sensitivity. As more hospitals, clinics, and health centers bring in these recent advancements in POC options. More patients will see the benefits.