The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today cleared for marketing the Xpert Carba-R Assay, an infection control aid that tests patient specimens to detect specific genetic markers associated with bacteria that are resistant to Carbapenem antibiotics. Carbapenem antibiotics are widely used in hospitals to treat severe infections. These resistant organisms are commonly referred to as Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, and have been reported in almost all states within the U.S.
The Xpert Carba-R Assay is intended as an aid in infection control and can be used in conjunction with other clinical and laboratory findings. Although the Xpert Carba-R Assay tests for the most prevalent carbapenemase genes associated with resistance to carbapenem antibiotics, it does not detect the bacteria, carbapenemase activity or other possible non-enzymatic causes of carbapenem resistance. The Xpert Carba-R Assay tests only for genetic material.
The Xpert Carba-R Assay also does not detect all types of carbapenemase genes, and it is important to recover bacteria for accurately tracking the spread of carbapenem resistance. Labs should continue to perform standard bacterial culture in conjunction with the Xpert Carba-R Assay. In addition, concomitant cultures are necessary to recover organisms for epidemiological typing, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and for confirmatory bacterial identification.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CRE infections most commonly occur in people with exposure to health care settings, like hospitals and long-term care facilities. Because of this, these types of infections often occur among patients who are receiving treatment for other serious conditions. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators, urinary catheters, or intravenous catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are among those at risk for CRE infections.
CRE are usually resistant to many other antibiotics