Hospital News

UPMC Western Maryland lab launches new analyzer


UPMC Western Maryland lab staff members cut the ribbon on the new advanced molecular diagnostic fully automated system, the Cepheid Gene Xpert Infinity. Pictured in the front row from left to right are Mary Lynch (Technologist), Nikki Filsinger (Technologist), Kailey Hillenbrand (Technologist), Renae Weisenmiller (Lead Technologist), Al Rosato (Microbiology Supervisor), Kim Smith (Director, Laboratory Services),  Glen MacKenzie, Noellene Zabo and Paul Vo (representing Cepheid). Back row, left to right are Christy Frazier (technologist) and Liz Bergman (technologist)


The UPMC Western Maryland Microbiology Department recently celebrated the launch of a new advanced molecular diagnostic fully automated system, the Cepheid Gene Xpert Infinity.

The machine analyzes patient specimens and helps screen for infections like Staph aureus (MRSA and MSSA).

The Infinity utilizes PCR test methodology – polymerase chain reaction is molecular biology that identifies a strand of DNA and copies it so that it can be tested.

The new system reduces the time it takes to read the test from two days with a traditional culture down to only an hour, allowing for a more efficient process for patient admission.

In addition to the time the new machine saves, the accuracy in reading specimens is also top of the line. “The big thing in microbiology is sensitivity,” said Al Rosato, UPMC Western Maryland Microbiology Supervisor.

“Cultures are only about 70 percent sensitive due to so many variables. This machine is 97 percent sensitive because it reduces these variables. Cultures can sometimes miss things due to specimen-collection problems or incubation issues. With this, we are almost certain that the answer we get is accurate.”

The new machine replaces a similar version that was initially installed in 2009. “This updated model is even more efficient and more accurate,” Rosato said. In addition to the infection screening, the machine analyzes Group B Strep tests in pregnant woman as well as certain sexually transmitted diseases, advanced tuberculosis cases and C. difficile toxin.

“This really allows us to do some many tests more efficiently and accurately,” Rosato said.