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Performance of the Hologic Panther Fusion® MRSA Assay for the nasal screening of methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage

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Staphylococcus aureus (SA) nasal carriage screening is usually based on either culture or molecular biology. The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance of the Panther Fusion® MRSA Assay (PF) that proposes a complete automation of the molecular screening for MSSA and MRSA carriage. Four hundred thirty-four nasal samples collected on ESwab™ were screened using PF. Results were compared with standard culture on BBL™ CHROMagar™ Staph aureus and chromID® MRSA agar. Discordant results were analyzed with additional techniques: Xpert SA Nasal Complete on GeneXpert (GX), culture on selective agar after 24 h in broth enrichment, and, if necessary, characterization of mec gene and SCCmec cassette using DNA microarray. The PF presented an overall agreement of 97.5% for SA detection and 97.9% for MRSA detection. Furthermore, 7.1% (31/434) of the samples were SA-negative in primary culture but SA-positive using PF and GX, confirming the greater sensitivity of molecular tests compared with culture. Of note, 4 out of 30 MRSA-positive samples were not detected due to an atypical SCCmec cassette, while 2 samples were falsely detected as MRSA due to co-colonization with a MSSA drop-out strain and a methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococcal strain. Considering all results, the PF instrument appears as a reliable and rapid (< 3 h) package for MSSA/MRSA nasal screening. This technology using random access capability and direct sampling of the primary container is innovative and corresponds therefore to a new step in complete molecular biology automation in bacteriology.

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We thank Dr. Muriel Rabilloud (Hospices Civils de Lyon) for statistical expertise and Dr. Philip Robinson (Hospices Civils de Lyon) for help in manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Anne-Gaëlle Ranc.

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Results of this study were presented at the 38th meeting of the RICAI congress (Réunion Interdisciplinaire de Chimiothérapie Anti-Infectieuse) on December 17–18, 2018, in Paris as a paper poster. Results of this study were presented at the 29th ECCMID congress on April 13–16, 2019, in Amsterdam also as a paper poster.

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Maurin, E., Ranc, AG., Abad, L. et al. Performance of the Hologic Panther Fusion® MRSA Assay for the nasal screening of methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 39, 2169–2176 (2020).

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