Benefits of Rapid Sepsis Diagnostics for the Medical Microbiology Laboratory


The clinical microbiology laboratory plays a pivotal role in facilitating effective antimicrobial stewardship by communicating the results of microbiological diagnostic tests to clinicians to ensure that appropriate treatments can be delivered. As such, the staff working in the laboratory need access to reliable, accurate assays that provide positive pathogen identifications in the shortest possible time. A core function of the clinical microbiology laboratory is the handling of blood cultures, and when a blood culture is positive, reporting the identity of the pathogen back to the clinician. Once a blood culture has been flagged as positive, the result of a gram stain can be reported, but a species identification may take a further 24-48 hours.

As the management and treatment of sepsis comes under greater scrutiny, this in turn results in an increase in workload and time pressures on the laboratory. As such any technique that can speed up accurate species identification with minimal hands on time has the potential to significantly enhance the workflow in the laboratory, improving the service provided and the quality of the results reported.

The QuickFISH assay has been designed to maximise the level of convenience for the clinical scientist when it is used ‘at the bench’, without compromising sensitivity or specificity. As such QuickFISH offers the ideal platform for the laboratory that wishes to report the most reliable species ID in the shortest possible time, while ensuring that the workload of the laboratory staff is managed effectively.

Comments from the literature

“The QuickFISH technology appears robust and reliable, with the major advantage of providing results in half an hour. It can be expected that this technique will be used routinely for all blood cultures”

Caretto et al, Journal of Clinical Microbiology 51(1) p131-135 (2013)

“The method [QuickFISH] provides a presumptive identification of S. aureus and classifies most non-S. aureus staphylococci as CoNS. Clinical trial results demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity for detection of staphylococci in blood cultures and rapid and easy discrimination of S. aureus and CoNS.”

Deck et al, Journal of Clinical Microbiology 50(6) p1994-1998 (2012)

“PNA-FISH is easy to perform in the clinical laboratory and does not require significant capital equipment costs unlike microarrays or MALDI-TOF”

Harris, D. and Hata, D. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 12 (2013)
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QuickFISH slide, showing sample area and inbuilt negative and positive controls


Key Benefits at a Glance


  • 20 minute turn-around time, 5 minute hands on time



  • Built-in, universal controls
  • One slide covers the full panel of pathogens



  • No wash steps or multiple incubations
  • Sensitive, specific and reproducible results


Simple, easy protocol

  • 2 step process >> Fix/Hybridise, View Results
  • No complex equipment
  • No sample preparation required


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About Sepsis Diagnostics

Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the presence of micro-organisms such as bacteria (bacteraemia) and fungi (fungaemia) in the bloodstream. Disease progression can be rapid so effective clinical intervention in these cases requires prompt diagnosis and identification of the responsible pathogen.

The QuickFISH system offers unprecedentedly fast (20 minute) species identification of pathogens directly from positive blood cultures, allowing the reporting of pathogen identification at the same time as the reporting of Gram stain results. Implementation of QuickFISH for sepsis diagnostics can deliver

  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Decreased financial outlay
  • Optimised antibiotic use
  • Decreased patient length of stay