IMR Press / FBL / Volume 1 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.2741/A145

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Application of molecular biology-based methods to the diagnosis of infectious diseases
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1 Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauß-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 1996, 1(5), 72–77;
Published: 1 August 1996

The basis for effective treatment and cure of a patient is the rapid diagnosis of the disease and its causative agent, which is founded on the analysis of the clinical symptoms coupled with laboratory tests. As we approach the 21st century, clinicians are becoming increasingly able to diagnose and treat diseases at the molecular level. The rapid development of new methods and techniques in the area of molecular biology has gained new insights into the genetic and structural features of a considerable number of human pathogens. These results obtained by intensive basic research are currently leading to improved diagnostic procedures. Basically, there are four different possibilities for laboratory diagnosis of infections: 1. direct detection of the pathogens (e.g., microscopy and/or culture), 2. detection of protein components of the pathogens with the help of specific antibodies (e.g., antigen capture ELISA) 3. IgA-, IgM- and IgG-specific detection of antibodies directed against a given pathogen and changes in their corresponding titer, and as the most sensitive method, 4. specific detection of nucleic acids (e.g., PCR) of the pathogens. Here, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are serving as examples to review the recent developments as well as the future perspectives in molecular biology-based laboratory diagnosis (Figure 1).

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