The advent of molecular biology techniques for the detection, diagnosis, monitoring and characterization of microorganisms have revolutionalized as well as increased the reliability of microbiology laboratory results. The fact that laboratories always served as an early warning system for epidemiologic surveillance, the use of molecular techniques also placed a huge challenge on microbiologists all over developing countries by leading the way into this new era by allowing rapid detection of microorganisms that were fastidious, previously difficult or impossible to detect by traditional (phenotypic) microbiological methods. Application of molecular techniques in clinical and veterinary microbiology laboratories have now progressed beyond identification of antibiotic resistance and tolerance genes, and are making inroads in the rapid and direct detection of etiologic agents of disease directly from clinical samples without the need for culture. Increased use of automation and user-friendly software makes these technologies more widely available, more efficient, less laborious, cost effective and gives room for versatile application. While the role of molecular techniques has increased in the developed world and are now part of routine specimen processing in many of these countries, it has continued to be a theoretical exercise in many developing countries and the evaluations of this technology for adoption in microbiology laboratories have generally been limited by several factors. As these molecular methods are further refined and become more widely available, microbiologists in developing countries will need to understand their clinical applications and be aware of their potential advantages, limitations and clinical utility.
Key words: Microbiology laboratory, molecular techniques, developing countries.
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