Differentiating Viral from Bacterial Infections

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Differentiating Viral from Bacterial Infections

Estimates claim that over 1.2 million people died in 2019 as a direct result of an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection. Statistics show that up to 4.95 million deaths in the same year were associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR)1. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics is considered to be the largest contributing factor to the rise of AMR. Antibiotics are effective at treating a wide range of bacterial infections, however, when used to treat viral infections, they have little to no effect. Even still, many physicians continue to prescribe so-called empirical antibiotics as an all-encompassing treatment strategy. In their defence, differentiating viral from bacterial infections can be troublesome. Traditional testing takes the form of paired serology, which requires patients to visit a healthcare facility twice during a 2–4-week period. Many of these infections have distressing symptoms, making this an unreasonable time-to-diagnosis period. Novel molecular techniques can reduce the time to result in the determination of many infections. However, some of these methods are associated with high false positive rates and low specificity resulting in further misuse of antibiotics.

Mxyovirus resistance protein A (MxA) is a biomarker associated with viral infections. It displays antiviral activity against positive, double-stranded RNA viruses and some DNA viruses2. In a study from earlier this year, MxA was used to differentiate viral from bacterial infections in a cohort of 61 adults with an AUROC of 0.9 and a sensitivity and specificity of 92.3% and 84.6% respectively3. An additional study, known as the TREND study, found that a cut-off of 430μg/L could effectively differentiate bacterial and viral infections with an AUROC of 0.9, a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 100%4.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a non-specific acute phase protein which is associated with bacterial infection. However, CRP levels have also been shown to be elevated in response to various viral infections such as Influenza virus, malaria5 and SARS-COV-26, limiting its utility in differentiating the aetiology of an infection.

Using both biomarkers in combination can help physicians determine the true aetiology of infection with high specificity, supporting antimicrobial stewardship and reducing the harmful use of these drugs. Available on the VeraSTAT, Randox provides tests for MxA and CRP, which together provide a fast and accurate method of detection and differentiation of bacterial and viral infections from a small sample.

We have provided an educational guide which describes these biomarkers and their usefulness in the arena of viral and bacterial detection. If you’re interested in learning more, you can find our educational guide here.

Differentiating Viral from Bacterial Infections

Alternatively, don’t hesitate to browse our range on our website or get in touch with one of our team at marketing@randox.com who will be happy to help with any query you have!

References

  1. Murray CJL, Ikuta KS, Sharara F, et al. Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis. The Lancet. 2022;399(10325):629-655. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02724-0
  2. Liao S, Gao S. MxA: a broadly acting effector of interferon-induced human innate immunity. Visualized Cancer Medicine. 2022;3:2. doi:10.1051/vcm/2022002
  3. Metz M, Gualdoni GA, Winkler HM, et al. MxA for differentiating viral and bacterial infections in adults: a prospective, exploratory study. Infection. Published online February 3, 2023. doi:10.1007/s15010-023-01986-0
  4. Rhedin S, Eklundh A, Ryd-Rinder M, et al. Myxovirus resistance protein A for discriminating between viral and bacterial lower respiratory tract infections in children – The TREND study. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 2022;28(9):1251-1257. doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2022.05.008
  5. Joseph P, Godofsky E. Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship: A Growing Frontier—Combining Myxovirus Resistance Protein A With Other Biomarkers to Improve Antibiotic Use. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018;5(2). doi:10.1093/ofid/ofy024
  6. Paranga TG, Pavel-Tanasa M, Constantinescu D, et al. Comparison of C-reactive protein with distinct hyperinflammatory biomarkers in association with COVID-19 severity, mortality and SARS-CoV-2 variants. Front Immunol. 2023;14. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2023.1213246

Pursuing Perfection: Insights into Global IQC Practices

In a time when medical laboratory personnel are pushed to their limits, internal quality control and quality management are easy to consider a nuisance. However, these processes are vital to ensure accuracy and precision in the potentially life-saving tests performed in these laboratories. Most High-to-middle-income countries have strict regulations governing quality procedures in medical laboratories, but global standardisation in these areas is lacking. Over 70% of clinical decisions are based on laboratory testing but many clinicians are unaware of the accuracy and precision limitations associated with many of these tests. This places the responsibility on laboratory staff to ensure that all results provided to clinical decision-makers are as true as possible. For this, they rely on IQC and a robust quality management system.

To determine the state of the industry, a report by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) Task Force on Global Laboratory Quality (TF-GLQ) surveyed over 100 IFCC full and affiliate members, receiving responses from 46 countries1. This survey consisted of a series of multiple-choice questions in relation to quality practices in their respective countries.

Findings by IFCC Task Force on Global Laboratory Quality

90% of respondents indicated that quality standards are in use in their country, despite being mandatory in only 46.7% of those countries.

These responses are encouraging showing that at least some level of predefined QC practice is implemented even in countries that do not legislatively mandate the inclusion of quality standards. This also hints that in those countries where it is not mandatory, it may soon become a requirement to adhere to a specified QC system. Nevertheless, in countries where regulatory measures are currently absent, the rigour of the implemented quality control procedures may not be adequate to ensure the accurate reporting of results.

42.5% of respondents indicated that IQC was not run in all laboratories in their country.

These respondents indicated that IQC is run in 50-99% of laboratories in their country. This less encouraging result shows that minimum IQC practices are not implemented globally. However, due to the multiple-choice nature of this survey, it is difficult to determine how drastic this issue is. Although it does raise the question of how these laboratories verify the precision of their results.

66.7% of respondents indicated that they use assay manufacturer quality control material.

This refers to first party quality control materials which are optimised by the manufacturer for use with a specific assay, instrument or method. These controls are often manufactured from the same material as the calibrator, making them less sensitive to subtle changes in performance, allowing them to mask weaknesses in the assay in question and therefore should be considered less effective options than third-party controls. Additionally, ISO15189:2022 encourage the use of third-party controls and require laboratories seeking accreditation that do not use third party controls to provide a sufficient explanation as to why this is the case.

“The use of third-party IQC material should be considered, either as an alternative to, or in addition to, control material supplied by the reagent or instrument manufacturer.”

ISO15189:2022 section 7.3.7.2

60% of respondents indicated that not all laboratories in their country had written IQC policies and procedures.

This highlights an important aspect of a quality management system. Without written IQC policies and procedures it is almost impossible to standardise the IQC process and corrective action across laboratory staff, never mind on a national scale. Drafting this documentation can be cumbersome, however, many organisations can be contracted to assist with the drafting and implementation of these procedures for laboratories seeking to gain accreditation.

28.6% of respondents reported that manual interpretation of the IQC data was normal practice.

Manual data interpretation also poses challenges to the standardisation of IQC processes. Written IQC policies and procedures are crucial in implementing standard acceptance criteria for IQC results. Manual data interpretation also implements restrictions on the ability to carry out more advanced statistical analysis of the QC data.

Discussion

The implementation of robust IQC practices is crucial for ensuring the trueness and precision of the results produced by a laboratory.  Used correctly, IQC can monitor variability caused by instrumentation and lot changes as well as various other sources of analytical error. ISO15189:2022 provides a thorough framework for designing rigorous IQC policies and procedures, highlighting key areas such as the use of third party QC material, levels of QC material, the frequency at which IQC should be completed, matrix composition, acceptance/rejection criteria and non-conformance procedures. For more information on ISO15189:2022 accreditation, take a look at our educational guide ISO15189:2022 Updates.

The results from this survey conducted by IFCC show a clear disparity between IQC processes around the globe, displaying differences in requirements, recommendations, and legislation. Standardisation of IQC is not without its challenges. However, by striving to achieve the highest possible levels of quality, and following the guidance laid out in ISO15189:2022, laboratories can be confident in the results they provide to clinicians.

Acusera Quality Control

The Acusera range offers unbiased, independent third party quality controls for medical and research laboratories of all shapes and sizes. Our assayed controls are provided with target values for most commercially available analysers, ensuring that your test menu will be covered. With enhanced stability, commutability and consolidation, all our controls are manufactured to provide a clinically relevant challenge to your test method, aiding in ISO15189 accreditation. For more specialist laboratories, our teams are happy to discuss your requirements and help to provide bespoke quality control material, providing an extremely flexible QC range.

Acusera 24.7

Designed for use with the Acusera range of third party controls, the Acusera 24•7 software will help you monitor and interpret your QC data. Access to an impressive range of features, including interactive charts, the automatic calculation of Measurement Uncertainty & Sigma Metrics and live peer group data generated from our extensive database of laboratory participants, ensures Acusera 24•7 is the most comprehensive package available. For laboratories performing manual review of their IQC data, Acusera 24•7 provides a comprehensive yet easy-to-use platform for advanced statistical analysis and monitoring of these data.

For more information on our Acusera range of IQC material, or Acusera 24•7, feel free to reach out to us at marketing@randox.com or alternatively, browse our range of literature at the QC Resource Hub

References

  1. Wheeler SE, Blasutig IM, Dabla PK, et al. Quality standards and internal quality control practices in medical laboratories: an IFCC global survey of member societies. Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM). 2023;0(0). doi:10.1515/cclm-2023-0492

RX Imola: Inflammatory Biomarkers in COVID-19

Over the course of human history, few events have had such a dramatic impact as the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 12th July 2023, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has claimed almost 7 million lives and figures continue to rise1. While many who become infected are only subject to mild symptoms, those who develop a more severe form of the infection are encumbered with a debilitating flu-like condition, often requiring days, if not weeks of bed rest. In a paper from June 20232, the Rx Imola was used to study C reactive protein concentrations, along with other biomarkers, in mild and severe COVID-19 patients in order to develop novel risk stratification methods for this potentially life-threatening viral infection.

The impact on healthcare services around the world cannot be understated. In developed countries, access to services for both COVID-related and other conditions took a catastrophic hit. In low-to-middle-income countries, the impact has been even more distressing, all but eliminating basic medical care in favour of combating COVID-19, partly due to inferior resources and facilities3.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world socially, economically and politically.”
Jain, 2023

In times of medical emergency, it is crucial to have an efficient and effective means of stratifying the risk to patients and a process for suitably categorising those into the least and most at risk of severe complications or death. Due to the rate at which COVID-19 spread, unfortunately, the world lacked these mechanisms for SARS-CoV-2, resulting in mass hospital overpopulation, cancelled appointments for other life-threatening conditions and ultimately the staggering mortality statistics we’ve been bombarded with since January 2022. This prompted an unprecedented surge in medical research and major advances in testing capabilities, giving us new methods of detecting SARS-CoV-2 and determining the risk posed to individuals.

One such investigation, by Paranga et al., (2023) studied a total of 13 biomarkers to determine which could accurately differentiate mild, moderate, and severe cases and identify biomarkers which were good predictors of fatality2. C reactive protein (CRP) was the best-described biomarker relating to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. This paper compares it to 12 other biomarkers including suPAR, sTREM-1, ferritin, MCP-1 and Lactate dehydrogenase. Of these, it was discovered that CRP was clearly the most effective biomarker for differentiating mild from severe cases, with concentrations in those with severe infection being, on average, 45% higher than in those with mild symptoms2. Additionally, the authors discovered that CRP levels were not significantly affected by age, a factor known to affect the inflammation and immune responses, providing a powerful and inclusive risk stratification tool. Some of the additional conclusions drawn from this paper can be seen below2:

  • Lactate dehydrogenase, sTREM-1 and HGF were good predictors of mortality in COVID-19.
  • suPAR was identified as a crucial molecule in characterising Delta variant infection and mortality.
  • The initial values of inflammatory biomarkers were good to excellent predictors of disease severity in COVID-19 patients.
  • Disease severity and mortality are associated with a higher rate of comorbidities including thrombocytopenia and other blood diseases, circulatory and respiratory system diseases and liver diseases such as cirrhosis.

So, what is CRP and how does it become elevated in response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection? CRP is a non-specific, acute-phase protein, meaning its concentration is altered in response to inflammation4. The acute respiratory distress syndrome induced by SARS-CoV-2 is, in part, a result of the hyperinflammation caused by the virus2. CRP is a well-characterised inflammatory biomarker and is therefore well-suited for identification and risk stratification in an emerging disease.

This investigation2 utilised the RX Imola, a rapid, comprehensive clinical chemistry platform, to quantify CRP. With the RX Imola, laboratories can gain access to the world’s largest clinical chemistry test menu covering routine chemistries as well as specific proteins, lipids, and more providing a cost-effective and user-friendly platform. With 60 cooled reagent positions and a sample carousel with 20 cooled positions for controls and calibrators, the RX Imola is an ideal solution for small to medium-throughput laboratories seeking an innovative and reliable clinical chemistry system. Randox also supplies suitable, high-quality reagents, and through Acusera, state-of-the-art controls and calibrators, completing the clinical chemistry portfolio.

References
1. World Health Organisation. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. https://covid19.who.int/.
2. Paranga TG, Pavel-Tanasa M, Constantinescu D, et al. Comparison of C-reactive protein with distinct hyperinflammatory biomarkers in association with COVID-19 severity, mortality and SARS-CoV-2 variants. Front Immunol. 2023;14. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2023.1213246
3. Jain P. Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Global Healthcare Systems and the role of a new era of global collaborations. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion. 2021;14(3):1-5. doi:10.38192/14.3.2
4. Nehring S. C Reactive Protein . https://www.statpearls.com/articlelibrary/viewarticle/18744/.


World Hepatitis Day 2023

Introduction

World Hepatitis Day, observed on July 28th, serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing battle against hepatitis (HBV), a viral infection that affects millions of people worldwide. In 2019, it was estimated that 296 million people were living with chronic hepatitis B, resulting in over 800,000 fatalities1. In this article, we will delve into the intricate mechanisms behind hepatitis, explore the viral species responsible for its occurrence, discuss methods for diagnosis, and shed light on treatment and management strategies.

Understanding Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to the inflammation of the liver, often caused by viral infections. Among the primary hepatitis viruses are Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, each with distinct modes of transmission and characteristics2.

Mechanisms of Hepatitis Infection

Hepatitis A and E: Hepatitis A and E viruses are primarily transmitted via the faecal-oral route, often through contaminated food or water. Ingestion of these viruses leads to acute infection, and while self-limiting in most cases, they can cause significant morbidity and mortality in certain populations5,6.

Hepatitis B, C, and D: Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are predominantly spread through blood and bodily fluids. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth which in endemic areas, HBV infection from mother to child transmission accounted for approximately half of chronic infections. These viruses can cause chronic infections, leading to long-term liver damage, cirrhosis, and an increased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma7,8.

Diagnosis of Hepatitis

Accurate and timely diagnosis of hepatitis is crucial for appropriate management. Diagnostic methods include:

Serology: Serological tests, such as enzyme immunoassays, are employed to detect specific viral antigens or antibodies in blood samples, aiding in the identification of different hepatitis viruses and determining the stage of infection9.

Nucleic Acid Testing: Highly sensitive molecular techniques like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) enable the detection and quantification of viral genetic material, aiding in the diagnosis and monitoring of chronic hepatitis10.

Treatment and Management of Hepatitis

The management of hepatitis depends on several factors, including the virus involved, the stage of infection, the presence of co-infections, and the individual patient’s health status. Treatment strategies encompass:

Antiviral Medications: For hepatitis B and C, antiviral drugs such as interferons and direct-acting antivirals have revolutionized the treatment landscape, offering higher cure rates and improved outcomes11,12.

Supportive Care: Hepatitis patients may require supportive care to alleviate symptoms, maintain proper nutrition, and manage complications. Vaccination against hepatitis A and B is highly recommended for prevention13.

Liver Transplantation: In cases of end-stage liver disease or hepatocellular carcinoma resulting from chronic hepatitis, liver transplantation may be considered a lifesaving option14.

Randox Hepatitis Solutions

Acusera

Acusera provides a range of positive and negative serology controls comprising various infectious diseases including Hepatitis. The table below details the suitable controls, and more information can be found on our website: Serology Quality Controls – Randox Laboratories

RIQAS

The RIQAS HIV/Hepatitis EQA programme is designed to monitor the performance of tests used to detect HIV/Hepatitis antibodies and specific antigens. All samples are conveniently supplied liquid ready-to-use and are suitable for qualitative methods of analysis.

Parameters:

  • Anti-HIV-1
  • Anti-HCV
  • Anti-HTLV-II
  • HBsAg
  • Anti-HIV-2
  • Anti-HBc
  • Anti-HTLV-1&2 (combined)
  • Anti-HIV-1&2 (combined)
  • Anti-HTLV-I
  • Anti-CMV
  • Anti-HAV IgM
  • Anti-HAV (Total)
  • Anti-HBc (Total)
  • Anti-HBe (Total)
  • Anti-HBs (Total)
  • P24

For more information, please visit our website at: HIV Hepatitis EQA | RIQAS (randox.com)

Qnostics

Monitoring for the presence of Blood Borne Virus (BBV) nucleic acid is an essential parameter in guiding clinical treatment and patient outcomes. The use of appropriate quality control measures is important in ensuring the appropriate daily performance of the molecular assay used in the laboratory independent of the technology.

Qnostics’ Blood Borne Virus Molecular Controls comprises a range of pathogens which are classically detected directly from the blood including those related to hepatitis. The table below lists the Qnostics products related to hepatitis testing. For more information visit our website: Qnostics | Molecular Infectious Disease Controls – Randox Laboratories

QCMD

QCMD is a world-leading External Quality Assessment (EQA) / Proficiency Testing (PT) scheme, dedicated to improving the quality of molecular diagnostic assays used in the detection of infectious diseases. With an extensive database of over 2000 participants in over 100 countries, QCMD is one of the largest providers of molecular EQA in the field of molecular diagnostics. QCMD programmes related to hepatitis testing are listed below:

  • HBV Drug resistance Typing EQA programme.
  • HCV Drug resistance Typing EQA programme.
  • Hepatitis B Virus DNA EQA Programme
  • Hepatitis B Virus Dried Blood Spot EQA Pilot Study
  • Hepatitis B virus Genotype EQA Programme
  • Hepatitis C Virus Dried Blood Spot EQA Pilot Study
  • Hepatitis C Virus RNA EQA Programme
  • Hepatitis C virus Genotype EQA Programme
  • Hepatitis D Virus EQA Programme
  • Hepatitis E virus RNA EQA Programme

For more information on any of these EQA programmes please visit: QCMD – Molecular EQA Scheme | Randox Quality Control

Conclusion

World Hepatitis Day serves as a reminder of the global impact of hepatitis and the urgent need to raise awareness, prevent transmission, and improve the diagnosis and management of this disease. By understanding the mechanisms, bacterial species involved, diagnostic techniques, and treatment approaches, we can work towards a future free from the burden of hepatitis. Let us unite in our efforts to combat this disease and strive for a healthier world.

If you’d like to find out more about hepatitis or the diagnosis and testing of hepatitis, please visit our website. If you’d like more information on how Randox can improve hepatitis testing in your laboratory, please reach out to marketing@randox.com.

References

  1.  World Health Organization. World Health Statistics 2023. World Health Organization; 2023. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240074323
  2. World Health Organization. Hepatitis. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-a. Published 2017. Accessed June 9, 2023.
  3. Wan Z, Wang X. Bacterial Hepatitis. In: Encyclopedia of Medical Microbiology. Elsevier; 2020:110-117.
  4. Russo TA, McFadden DC. Bacterial and fungal infections in patients with cirrhosis. Clin Liver Dis. 2019;14(2):71-74.
  5. World Health Organization. Hepatitis E. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-e. Published 2018. Accessed June 9, 2023.
  6. Rakesh S, Pekamwar SS. Hepatitis A. In: StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
  7. World Health Organization. Hepatitis B. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-b. Published 2021. Accessed June 9, 2023.
  8. World Health Organization. Hepatitis D. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-d. Published 2021. Accessed June 9, 2023.
  9. Alfaresi MS, Elkoush AA, Khan AS. Serological diagnosis of viral hepatitis. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2017;5(4):343-359.
  10. European Association for the Study of the Liver. EASL Recommendations on Treatment of Hepatitis C. J Hepatol. 2017;66(1):153-194.
  11. European Association for the Study of the Liver. EASL 2017 Clinical Practice Guidelines on the management of hepatitis B virus infection. J Hepatol. 2017;67(2):370-398.
  12. Vermehren J, Sarrazin C. New HCV therapies on the horizon. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2011;17(2):122-134.
  13. World Health Organization. Hepatitis A. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-a. Published 2020. Accessed June 9, 2023.
  14. Kim WR, Terrault NA. Hepatocellular carcinoma and liver transplantation. Clin Liver Dis. 2018;22(2):381-394.

Exploring the Intricacies of Bile Acids: Understanding Their Role in Metabolism and Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy

Bile acids (BAs) are fascinating molecules that play a pivotal role in our bodies metabolic processes. From aiding in the digestion of lipids to regulating essential metabolic pathways, BAs have garnered significant interest among researchers and healthcare professionals. In this article, we will delve into the structural and functional aspects of bile acids and explore their significance in a condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). For additional information, we encourage you to take a look at our latest educational guide: 5th Generation Bile Acids & Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. So, let’s unravel the secrets of bile acids and their impact on our health!

Understanding Bile Acids

Bile acids belong to a diverse family of bile salts, characterised by their planar and amphipathic nature. They possess a hydrophilic hydroxyl and a hydrophobic methyl group, conferring their unique amphipathic properties. These properties allow bile acids to emulsify and solubilize lipids, facilitating their digestion and absorption1.

Bile acids are primarily synthesized in the liver through two pathways: the classic (neutral) pathway and the alternate (acidic) pathway. The classic pathway involves the hydroxylation of cholesterol, while the alternate pathway utilizes oxysterols as precursors. These pathways produce primary bile acids, which are further modified to generate secondary and tertiary bile acids2.

Importance of Bile Acids in Metabolism

Bile acids serve multiple functions in our bodies. Firstly, they emulsify dietary fats, breaking them down into smaller droplets that can be efficiently digested by pancreatic enzymes. Additionally, bile acids are crucial for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are incorporated into micelles, facilitated by the presence of bile acids, enabling their uptake3.

Furthermore, bile acids exhibit signalling activity through various receptors, influencing metabolic responses. One key receptor associated with bile acid metabolism is the Farnesoid X receptor (FXR). Activation of FXR regulates bile acid synthesis, delivery, and clearance, maintaining their levels within a safe range. FXR also modulates lipid transport and metabolism, as well as hepatic gluconeogenesis. Another important receptor is TGR5, which influences vasodilation, gallbladder function, and exerts anti-inflammatory effects1.

Illustration of the conformation of bile acids around a central lipid, forming a micelle.

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the metabolic processes in the liver undergo significant adaptations to accommodate the growing foetus. One condition that can arise during pregnancy is intrahepatic cholestasis, commonly known as ICP. It is a multifactorial disorder characterised by elevated levels of bile acids in the blood, particularly chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and cholic acid (CA)4.

ICP manifests in the second or third trimester and can lead to various symptoms such as pruritus (itching), abnormal liver enzyme levels, jaundice, abdominal pain, and depression. The exact mechanisms underlying ICP are not fully understood, but it is believed that elevated bile acid levels may have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system of the foetus, potentially leading to stillbirth or preterm birth5.

The detection and monitoring of ICP are essential for managing the condition and ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the foetus. Total bile acid (TBA) concentration is a commonly measured parameter to assess the severity of ICP. Monitoring TBA levels can aid in identifying potential risks and enabling timely interventions5.

Introducing the 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay

To facilitate the accurate quantification of total bile acids in serum and plasma, the 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay has emerged as a reliable and advanced diagnostic tool. This assay utilizes a highly sensitive enzymatic cycling method to measure total bile acid levels, providing precise and reproducible results. With its improved sensitivity and specificity, the 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay offers a valuable tool for the early detection and monitoring of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.

The assay is easy to use and can be incorporated into routine laboratory workflows. It requires a small sample volume, making it convenient for both patients and healthcare professionals. The assay provides rapid results, allowing for prompt diagnosis and timely intervention when necessary.

By accurately quantifying total bile acid levels, the 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay aids in assessing the severity of ICP and monitoring the response to treatment. This information is vital for guiding clinical decisions and optimizing patient care during pregnancy.

Furthermore, the assay can contribute to ongoing research on bile acids and their role in ICP. By analysing a larger population and monitoring the dynamics of bile acid levels, researchers can gain deeper insights into the mechanisms underlying this condition and explore potential therapeutic targets.

Assay Principle

Two reactions are combined in this kinetic enzyme cycling method. In the first reaction, bile acids are oxidised by 3-α hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase with the subsequent reduction of Thio-NAD to Thio-NADH. In the second reaction, the oxidised bile acids are reduced by the same enzyme with the subsequent oxidation of NADH to NAD. The rate of formation of Thio-NADH is determined by measuring the specific absorbance change at 405nm. Enzyme cycling means multiple Thio-NADH molecules are generated from each bile acid molecule giving rise to a much larger absorbance change, increasing the sensitivity of the assay.

Assay Principle for the 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay

In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of bile acids is essential for comprehending their impact on our metabolism and health. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is a condition that warrants attention, and accurate measurement of total bile acid levels is crucial for its diagnosis and management. The 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay offers an advanced and reliable solution for assessing bile acid levels, enabling timely interventions, and improving patient outcomes. With ongoing research and advancements in diagnostic techniques, we can continue to unravel the complexities of bile acids and enhance our understanding of their role in health and disease.

Don’t underestimate the strength of knowledge and awareness. Empower yourself, stay informed, and prioritize your health and well-being!

If you’d like to learn more about Bile Acids and ICP we encourage you to read our new educational guide, 5th Generation Bile Acids & The Importance of Of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy 

If you would like an additional information on our 5th Generation Total Bile Acids Assay, or anything else, don’t hesitate to reach out the marketing@randox.com. Additionally, feel free to visit our Reagent resource hub where you will find all of our brochures, support tools and a collection of educational material, to aid you in maintaining the highest possible levels of quality.

 

References

  1. McGlone ER, Bloom SR. Bile acids and the metabolic syndrome. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry. 2019;56(3):326-337. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/0004563218817798
  2. Chiang JYL, Ferrell JM. Bile Acid Metabolism in Liver Pathobiology. Gene Expression. 2018;18(2):71-87. doi:https://doi.org/10.3727/105221618×15156018385515
  3. Chiang JYL. Bile Acid Metabolism and Signaling. Comprehensive Physiology. 2013;3(3). doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/cphy.c120023
  4. Di Mascio D, Quist-Nelson J, Riegel M, et al. Perinatal death by bile acid levels in intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: a systematic review. The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. Published online November 19, 2019:1-9. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2019.1685965
  5. Piechota J, Jelski W. Intrahepatic Cholestasis in Pregnancy: Review of the Literature. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020;9(5):1361. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051361

A Comprehensive Guide to External Quality Assessment Programmes

The importance of External Quality Assessment (EQA) programmes in the realm of medical laboratories is beyond dispute. These programmes serve as external control mechanisms, underpinning the accuracy and reliability of diagnostic tests carried out by laboratories across the globe. By participating in EQA programmes, laboratories gain the ability to monitor their proficiency, identify areas for improvement, enhance their analytical performance, and above all, ensure top-tier patient care.

Today, we find ourselves faced with a multitude of EQA programmes, each touting its own, unique features and benefits. Therefore, the question that naturally follows is – how do you choose the right EQA programme for your laboratory?

Understand Your Laboratory’s Requirements

The first step towards selecting an EQA programme is to clearly understand the requirements of your laboratory. These requirements could encompass the range of tests performed, the desired frequency of assessment, and the specific areas where your lab wishes to improve

Examine the EQA Programmes

The next step is to critically examine each EQA programme. Look at the range of tests they cover, the frequency of their assessments, the type of samples they use, and their approach towards feedback and improvement.

Reporting

One of the most critical aspects of an EQA programme is the results reporting mechanism. This mechanism should provide comprehensive and constructive feedback, highlighting areas of improvement, and offering guidance on how to enhance performance. It is also essential to consider the frequency of reporting. More frequent reporting allows laboratories to identify problems and implement corrective actions swiftly, aiding in the continuous improvement of a laboratory and the confident delivery of accurate patient results.

Accreditation

The accreditation of the EQA programme should also be evaluated. Superior programmes are accredited to ISO17043:2010. Participation in an accredited EQA programme is mandatory under ISO15189:2022 accreditation. Choosing a scheme accredited to ISO17043 ensures that the programme has been rigorously evaluated and meets the necessary criteria of a high-quality EQA programme.

Cost-effectiveness

The cost of the EQA programme should be compared to the benefits your laboratory will reap from participating in the scheme. Although cost should not be the sole determining factor, it’s a crucial element to consider. Factors such as consolidation and number of registrations are key areas where many providers differ.

Customer Support

Finally, it’s vital to consider the customer support provided by the EQA programme. Adequate support will ensure that any issues or queries are addressed in a timely and efficient manner

Our latest educational guide Choosing the Right EQA Programme has been constructed to help you with this decision. Providing more detail on the points discussed above and more, this guide displays how the world-renowned RIQAS EQA programmes can help you maximise the accuracy of your laboratory results and achieve ISO15189:2022 accreditation.

In conclusion, selecting the right EQA programme requires a careful and thorough evaluation of several factors. By taking the time to understand your laboratory’s needs, scrutinising each EQA programme, and considering factors such as reporting, accreditation, cost, and customer support, you can make a well-informed decision that will significantly enhance the proficiency of your laboratory and the quality of patient care.

Remember, the primary objective of an EQA programme is to help your laboratory improve. Therefore, the right EQA programme for your laboratory is the one that best assists you in achieving this objective.


Prostate-specific Antigen & Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. In the UK, 1 in every 8 men will be diagnosed with the condition within their lifetime, resulting in around 12’000 deaths per year1. Prostate-specific antigen is a major protease found in semen which functions to cleave semeogelins into smaller polypeptides resulting in the liquefication of semen2.

This week, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Floris Helmich, who discussed laboratory imprecision relating to Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and prostate cancer in our latest webinar. Dr Helmich took the time out of his busy schedule to present his experience in PSA quantification and the importance of quality control in yielding accurate and precise results as well as discussing some of the experimental techniques he has found useful in identifying the source of bias laboratory testing. Dr Helmich also discussed the ambiguity relating to reporting ranges and how bias can affect the results of laboratory PSA testing.

 “It’s not really significant but it causes a lot of anxiety in the patient”

Dr Floris Helmich

What is PSA?

PSA is an enzyme produced by the prostate ductal and acinar epithelium where it is secreted into the lumen before it is used to liquefy semen. Once PSA enters circulation, most are bound to protease inhibitors, however, some remain inactive and circulate in the lumen as free PSA2.

PSA levels in men vary depending on their age. Typically, men between the ages of 50 and 69 should have a PSA level below 3ng/ml. If the PSA concentration exceeds 3ng/ml, it could be a potential indicator of prostate cancer3. However, the challenge with using PSA as the sole monitoring method for prostate cancer is the relatively high false positive rate associated with it. A higher PSA concentration can also be attributed to conditions such as an enlarged prostate, prostatitis, or a urinary tract infection4.

Research indicates that 1 out of 4 men with elevated PSA levels will actually have prostate cancer. Additionally, it has been observed that approximately one in every seven men diagnosed with prostate cancer will maintain normal PSA levels3. These findings highlight the limitations of relying solely on PSA screening for prostate cancer diagnosis. As a result, some countries have started to limit their recommendations regarding PSA-based prostate cancer diagnosis.

In response to these limitations, other countries have chosen to maintain their recommendations for PSA testing but are augmenting the guidelines by incorporating additional criteria to ensure more accurate diagnoses.

Elevated PSA

Elevated levels of PSA should not always be automatically interpreted as a sign of prostate cancer. In older men, one common cause of elevated PSA is benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Additionally, prostatitis, which refers to inflammation of the prostate, can contribute to an increase in PSA concentration3. It’s important to consider other potential factors that can lead to elevated PSA levels, such as urinary tract infections, recent sexual activity, natural age-related increases, or injury to the groin area5.

Therefore, when assessing PSA levels, it is crucial to recognize that various non-cancerous conditions can also result in elevated PSA. It is recommended to consult healthcare professionals who can evaluate the individual’s medical history, perform further diagnostic tests, and consider other clinical factors to accurately determine the underlying cause of elevated PSA and make informed decisions about the next steps in diagnosis and treatment.

(A) Healthy prostate gland secreting healthy levels of PSA. (B) Illustration of luminal cells of the prostate gland secreting healthy levels of PSA. (C) Prostate gland displaying a prostatic tumour and overproduction of PSA. (D) Illustration of prostatic tumour cells and the overproduction of PSA as a result of increased cell number.

Ultra-low PSA concentrations

The diagnostic accuracy of PSA concentration for prostate cancer is known to be limited. However, there is a clear association between PSA levels and prostate cancer, which confirms it as a valuable tool for risk stratification and diagnosis when used in conjunction with other established factors.

PSA testing also plays a crucial role in monitoring patients who have undergone treatment for prostate cancer. In cases where the patient is deemed cancer-free, their PSA levels should decrease to within the normal range. Following radical prostatectomy (removal of the entire prostate), PSA levels should ideally be undetectable. Post-radiotherapy, it is expected that PSA levels will reach their lowest point (nadir) within 12-18 months. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, a temporary spike in PSA concentration has been observed after radiotherapy. This spike should not be immediately interpreted as recurrent cancer, but these patients should be closely monitored.

If PSA concentrations rise above 2.0ng/ml after radiotherapy, further testing is recommended to assess the possibility of recurrent cancer. Close monitoring and additional evaluations will help healthcare professionals make accurate and timely decisions regarding the patient’s ongoing treatment and care6

Guidelines

Different countries offer varying guidance in relation to Ultra-low PSA testing. The table below details some of these recommended guidelines:

Guidelines Description
American Urology Association 7 PSA concentrations of >0.2ng/ml, followed by a subsequent confirmatory >0.2ng/ml result should be considered biochemical recurrence. However, a cut-off of 0.4ng/ml may better predict metastatic relapse.
European Association of Urology8 A detectable PSA indicating relapse should be differentiated from a clinically meaningful relapse. PSA thresholds that predict further metastasises are:

Post-RP = >0.4ng/ml

Post-RT = nadir + 2ng/ml

Prostate Cancer Foundation1 Post-RP = PSA 0.2ng/ml is indicative of biochemical recurrence

Post-RT = PSA nadir + 2ng/ml is indicative of biochemical recurrence

Randox Ultra-low PSA Control

We are excited to introduce Randox’s latest innovation, the Ultra-low PSA Control, designed to assist in the precise quantification and monitoring of ultra-low levels of PSA in post-therapy prostate cancer patients. This control has been specifically optimized for use on Roche systems, ensuring exceptional performance and compatibility. Moreover, it is versatile enough to be utilized on various other platforms, making it the sole control available on the market for measuring ultra-low levels of PSA across a range of instruments.

With the Acusera Ultra-low PSA Control, healthcare professionals can achieve accurate and reliable results, enabling them to monitor the progress and treatment response of prostate cancer patients with heightened sensitivity. With a clinically relevant concentration of approximately 0.055ng/ml, this advancement in control technology contributes to enhanced patient care and supports medical professionals in making informed decisions regarding treatment adjustments or further interventions.

Randox’s commitment to innovation and precision in diagnostic solutions continues with the Ultra-low PSA Control, empowering laboratories to deliver high-quality and dependable PSA measurements, even at the ultra-low levels required for post-therapy monitoring.

Take a look at our webinar, Laboratory Imprecision in Relation to PSA and Prostate Cancer Follow-up, with Dr Floris Helmich to learn about how his clinical laboratory deals with bias at quality control relating to Ultra-low PSA quantification

If you’d like to learn more about PSA testing and prostate cancer, we encourage you to read our new educational guide, Ultra-low PSA and Prostate Cancer

If you would like an additional information on our Ultra-low PSA Control, or anything else relating to Quality Control, don’t hesitate to reach out the marketing@randox.com. Additionally, feel free to visit our QC resource hub where you will find all of our brochures, support tools and a collection of educational material, to aid you in maintaining the highest possible levels of quality.

References

  1. Prostate Cancer Foundation. About prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer UK. Published 2023. https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information-and-support/risk-and-symptoms/about-prostate-cancer
  2. Balk SP, Ko YJ, Bubley GJ. Biology of Prostate-Specific Antigen. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2003;21(2):383-391. doi:https://doi.org/10.1200/jco.2003.02.083
  3. NHS Choices. Should I have a PSA test? – Prostate cancer. NHS. Published 2019. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/prostate-cancer/should-i-have-psa-test/
  4. Isono T, Tanaka T, Kageyama S, Yoshiki T. Structural Diversity of Cancer-related and Non-Cancer-related Prostate-specific Antigen. Clinical Chemistry. 2002;48(12):2187-2194. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/48.12.2187
  5. Mejak SL, Bayliss J, Hanks SD. Long Distance Bicycle Riding Causes Prostate-Specific Antigen to Increase in Men Aged 50 Years and Over. Steyerberg EW, ed. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(2):e56030. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056030
  6. Santis D, Gillessen S, Grummet J, et al. EAU-EANM-ESTRO-ESUR-ISUP-SIOG Guidelines on Prostate Cancer.; 2023.
  7. AUA. Advanced Prostate Cancer: AUA/ASTRO/SUO Guideline (2020) – American Urological Association. www.auanet.org. Published 2023. https://www.auanet.org/guidelines-and-quality/guidelines/advanced-prostate-cancer
  8. Sindhwani P, Wilson CM. Prostatitis and serum prostate-specific antigen. Current Urology Reports. 2005;6(4):307-312. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11934-005-0029-y

Acusera 24·7 Software Updates v3.3

Acusera 24.7 Software updates v3.3

Randox Quality Control is thrilled to announce the release of our latest software update for Acusera 24·7, which includes a collection of new features to enhance your user experience and create a more effective quality management system for your laboratory. This update shall take place on Tuesday 20th June 2023. Below, you’ll find details of the latest software updates and how these changes can help you improve your daily QC activities.

Events

  • Users can now add an event at the assay, instrument or QC levels to allow more accurate monitoring of control events. In addition, this feature adds the capability to record reagent lot changes.
  • Users now have the ability to temporarily hide all events from the interactive charts, allowing for a clearer view of QC performance over a selected timeframe.

    Uncertainty of Measurement

    • User can now add the uncertainty of the calibrator value to the uncertainty of measurement report to provide a more accurate assessment of uncertainty.
    • Users now have the ability to hide the intraprecision data from the uncertainty of measurement report if no data has been entered for this field.

    Charts

    • A selection of new interactive charts have been added to this software. These charts focus on the individual results per analyte that each instrument generates over a specified time period.

    Individual results

    This graph displays a spread of the individual results for a single machine, per analyte generated over a specified time.

     

    Weekly Count

    This Bar Chart shows the weekly count of quality control results for a specific instrument, assay and lot.

    Instrument Comparison

    Users can now view a line graph, which plots the weekly mean of results from multiple instruments using the same assay and QC lot, allowing a comprehensive overview of your QC data.

    If you’d like to learn more about these updates, we encourage you to watch our new Acusera 24·7 video guides: Acusera 24.7 Video Guides

     

    This software update will be live from Tuesday 20th June 2023. To make the upgrade process as smooth as possible, we encourage Acusera 24·7 users to clear their browser cache, visit the Acusera 24·7 site, and you will be ready to avail of these new features!

     

    If you would like an additional information on these updates, or anything else relating to Acusera 24·7, don’t hesitate to reach out the marketing@randox.com. Additionally, feel free to visit our QC resource hub where you will find all of our brochures, support tools and a collection of educational material, to aid you in maintaining the highest possible levels of quality.


    Enhancing Laboratory Quality Control with Multi-Rule QC: A Comprehensive Guide

    Introduction

    We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest educational guide, “Understanding Multi-rule QC,” which delves into the world of laboratory quality control. Designed for laboratory professionals, this comprehensive guide aims to empower you with knowledge and strategies to ensure accurate results and uphold patient safety.

    Understanding the Significance of Multi-Rule QC

    Laboratory quality control is paramount in maintaining the integrity of test results. The guide begins by exploring the various causes of deviations in laboratory testing processes. From instrument malfunctions to environmental factors, we shed light on potential sources of error that can impact result accuracy.

    Next, we dive into the core of the guide: Multi-rule QC. This powerful framework encompasses a series of rules that serve as a robust screening tool for identifying outliers, shifts, and trends in data. Through an in-depth exploration of rules such as 1:2s, 1:3s, 2:2s, R4s, 3:1s, 4:1s, 10x, and 7T, we unveil their underlying principles and their significance in maintaining quality control within laboratory settings.

    Applying the Multi-Rule QC Approach

    The guide equips laboratory professionals with practical insights on applying the Multi-rule QC approach. By examining consecutive data points, analysing trends, and detecting systematic shifts, you gain the ability to proactively address issues before they compromise result accuracy. We highlight the importance of avoiding overreliance on individual rules for result rejection, emphasizing the need to consider additional factors such as clinical relevance and method performance.

    Troubleshooting Out-of-Control Events

    No laboratory is immune to out-of-control events. That’s why our guide goes beyond rule implementation and delves into effective troubleshooting strategies. We provide guidance on identifying root causes, implementing corrective actions, and re-establishing control in your laboratory environment. By embracing a culture of continuous improvement, you can minimize the impact of deviations and optimize laboratory performance.

    Acusera 24.7 

    Acusera 24.7 is a cloud-based inter-laboratory data management and peer-group reporting software designed to assist in the management of daily QC activities and aid continuous improvement in the laboratory. It includes multi-rule capabilities that can be utilized to monitor your QC data and index it as accepted, rejected, or trigger an alert, depending on the pre-defined multi-rules against which you want to check your data. These features enable the identification of nonconformities and reduce the need for laborious manual statistical analysis while enhancing the accuracy and precision of the laboratory.

    Conclusion

    In an era where accuracy and patient safety are paramount, the “Multi-rule QC” guide serves as an invaluable resource for laboratory professionals. By mastering the principles and applications of Multi-rule QC, you can enhance the quality control processes within your laboratory, mitigating risks and delivering reliable test results.

    To explore the full potential of Multi-rule QC and embark on a journey of laboratory excellence, we invite you to download the guide today. Stay ahead of the curve and ensure the highest standards of quality and patient care in your laboratory!

    You can download the Understanding Multi-rule QC Educational Guide below: 

    If you’d like to find out more about what we can do to help your laboratory or view our range of Internal Quality Controls, don’t hesitate to contact us at marketing@randox.com or feel free to browse the range on our website https://www.randox.com/laboratory-quality-control-acusera/.

     


    Differentiating Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

    An estimated 422 million people across the world are living with diabetes1. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) encompasses a collection of chronic diseases characterised by absent or ineffective insulin activity. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas responsible for a host of essential physiological processes related to glucose metabolism and protein synthesis.

    There are two main forms of DM, named type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) which result from different mechanisms and more importantly, require different therapeutic approaches. It is estimated that up to 40% of those diagnosed with T1DM after the age of 30 may have been misdiagnosed with T2DM2. This misdiagnosis of T1DM as T2DM will result in poor glycaemic control, frequent healthcare contact for increased treatment, inappropriate insulin regimes and risk of life-threatening ketoacidosis.

    In this article, we’ll look at the similarities and differences between these two forms of DM and investigate the mechanisms by which these common diseases arise.

    Insulin Pathway

    The normal insulin signalling pathway, shown below, is responsible for the processing and transport of glucose in the body. Briefly, insulin binds to the insulin receptor and activates PI3K and, subsequently, serine-threonine kinase (AKT). AKT is responsible for the phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3-β (GSK-3β), inhibiting its activity and promoting the synthesis of glycogen leading to a reduction in blood glucose concentration.  Failing to inhibit GSK-3β will result in hyperglycaemia and eventually T2DM.

    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

    T1DM is most commonly diagnosed at a young age. This form of DM is the result of an autoimmune reaction to proteins produced by the pancreas which results in a lack of insulin secretion. The antibodies responsible for this autoimmunity are detailed in the table below:

    A key factor in T1DM pathogenesis is changes in the T cell-mediated immunoregulation, notably in the CD4+ T cell compartment. The activation of the CD4+ T cells is responsible for inflammation of the pancreatic cells which produce insulin, known as insulitis.

    Changes in the expression of IL-1 and TNFα cause structural alterations in pancreatic β-cells which result in the suppression of insulin secretion.  This insulin deficiency has subsequent effects on glucose metabolism and protein synthesis.

    T1DM causes an increase in hepatic glucose levels when gluconeogenesis converts glycogen to glucose. A lack of insulin means the subsequent hepatic uptake of this glucose does not occur.

    Insulin is also responsible for regulating the synthesis of many proteins. This regulation can be positive or negative but ultimately results in an increase in protein synthesis and a decrease in protein degradation. Therefore, when hypoinsulinemia occurs, decreasing insulin concentration in the blood, protein catabolism is increased leading to increased plasma amino acid concentration.

    Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

    The pathogenesis of T2DM, detailed in the diagram below, is multi-factorial. It arises from a combination of genetic and environmental factors which affect insulin activity.

    In T2DM, the regulatory mechanisms related to glucose metabolism fail resulting in impaired insulin activity or insulin resistance.

    Mutations in genes involved in insulin production can cause the secretion of abnormal insulin molecules, known as insulinopathies. Insulinopathies are unable to effectively metabolise glucose which results in the accumulation of this sugar. Additionally, obesity is considered to be a causal factor in the development of T2DM.

    Unlike those with T1DM, patients with T2DM can maintain circulating insulin levels. T2DM is characterised by glucose intolerance, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes with minimal fasting hyperglycaemia, and DM in association with overt fasting hyperglycaemia.

    Individuals with impaired glucose tolerance have hyperglycaemia despite preserving high levels of plasma insulin. These levels of insulin decline from impaired glucose tolerance to DM. It is insulin resistance is considered the primary cause of T2DM.

    Misdiagnosis

    The misdiagnosis of these types of DM is common, due to similar symptoms. The simplest differentiating factor is when these symptoms manifest. T1DM is an autoimmune disorder and therefore, symptoms generally occur much earlier in one’s life. T2DM is typically diagnosed in later life. The common symptoms of DM are:

    • Frequent urination, particularly throughout the night.
    • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
    • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)
    • Lethargy
    • Sudden weight loss
    • Genital itching or thrush
    • Blurred vision

    The misdiagnosis of T2DM as T1DM results in unnecessary initial insulin therapy, higher drug and monitoring costs and often, an increase in the number and severity of symptoms. Conversely, the incorrect classification of T1DM as T2DM causes poor glycaemic control, frequent visits to healthcare services for treatment, inappropriate insulin regimes and risk of Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

    Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

    DKA is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an accumulation of ketones in the body due to insulin deficiency, which is common in patients with T1DM, however, an increasing number of cases have been reported in patients with T2DM. Diagnosis of DKA consists of a high anion gap metabolic acidosis, ketone bodies present in serum and/or urine, and high blood glucose concentration. The symptoms of DKA include:

    • Polyuria (excessive urination) and polydipsia (thirst)
    • Weight loss
    • Fatigue
    • Dyspnoea (shortness of breath)
    • Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Abdominal pain
    • Polyphagia (excess hunger)
    • Fruity-smelling breath caused by acetone accumulation.

    Randox Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Genetic Risk Array

    T1DM is largely genetic and is associated with over 50 distinct genetic signatures, many of which are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This is of great advantage in testing as unlike traditional biomarkers, genetic markers don’t change throughout one’s life, providing a robust method for diagnosis and risk stratification. Genetic data gathered can then be used to develop a genetic risk score, allowing an individual’s probability of developing the disease to be quantified.

    Using this principle, together with our patented Biochip array technology, Randox have developed a T1DM GRS array. Using a combination of 10 SNPs from the HLA region and the non-HLA region commonly detected in T1DM patients, and a selection of other risk factors and biomarkers, this molecular array can accurately discriminate between T1DM and T2DM.

    Conclusions

    Misdiagnosis of DM can have life-threatening consequences. Both types of DM are very common and distinguishing between T1DM and T2DM is crucial.

    T1DM is an autoimmune disorder with a lack of insulin secretion, while T2DM is primarily due to insulin resistance. Understanding their mechanisms is vital for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Genetic testing, like the Randox Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Genetic Risk Array, can differentiate between T1DM and T2DM by analysing genetic markers and providing personalized treatment insights.

    Accurate diabetes diagnosis is crucial for proper management, prevention of complications, and improving the lives of millions. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those affected by diabetes!

    If you’d like to learn more about the different types of DM, including the pathogenesis, pathophysiology, associated risk factors, and more, please take a look at our educational guide Diabetes Solutions.

    Alternatively, feel free to reach out to our marketing team at marketing@randox.com who will be happy to help you with any queries you may have.

    References

    1. World Health Organization. Diabetes. World Health Organisation. Published April 5, 2023. Accessed April 25, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes
    2. The Misdiagnosis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in adults. The Lancet Regional Health. 2023;29:100661-100661. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanepe.2023.100661

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