The study is summarized in “Multiplex Assay for Simultaneous Detection of Mycoplasma genitalium and Macrolide Resistance using PlexZyme and PlexPrime Technology,” published in the journal PLOS One.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually transmitted infection that can lead to urethritis, cervicitis, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. The current recommended treatment for uncomplicated infection is a single oral dose (1 gram) of the macrolide antibiotic, azithromycin. But recent studies report increasing cases of treatment failure resulting from bacteria-acquiring resistance mechanisms to macrolide based antibiotics, including azithromycin.
Complicating matters further, mycoplasma genitalium is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms are similar to other sexually transmitted diseases, and because of the lack specific detection methods. Typically, patient samples are processed in laboratories; while waiting for results, clinicians prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics.
In the study, SpeeDx’s PlexPCR Mycoplasma genitalium ResistancePlus assay was tested in 400 samples from 254 (186 males and 68 females) consecutively infected participants undergoing tests of cure. Using the multiplex qPCR kits, researchers identified 331 samples positive for Mycoplasma genitalium infection. Among the 331 positive samples, 56% carried a genetic mutation conferring resistance to macrolide-based antibiotics, showing that standard treatment with azithromycin would be ineffective.
“We believe this study is a positive first step in combatting the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in Mycoplasma genitalium,” Prof. Sepehr Tabrizi, senior scientist at Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia and a study author, said in a press release. “The SpeeDx assay provides valuable information to the clinicians in a rapid timeframe allowing for better treatment of patients infected with Mycoplasma genitalium. Timely detection of potential antibiotic resistance could enable the development of better algorithms for the treatment of Mycoplasma genitalium infection and promote responsible stewardship of antibiotics.”