Real Time PCR Testing vs. PCR Testing
Most people are familiar with PCR technology and its advantages. Since 1992, R.A.L., Inc., has been performing avian diagnostics utilizing standard PCR methods. With the relocation of our laboratory to Dallas, Texas, in 2002, we took the opportunity to upgrade our equipment and services. These changes brought many improvements in quality, services and accuracy. Perhaps the single most important change has been new state-of-the-art equipment and associated technology called Real-Time PCR.
Real-Time PCR is the most recent advancement to PCR technology and has many advantages. For the first time, we have the ability to actually quantify the amount of pathogen present. This ability has been both long overdue and sorely needed. Samples are compared to known positive controls on each and every cycle. With standard PCR, your results are only positive or negative. A low level measured by standard PCR may or may not be detected, depending on the sensitivity of equipment and technology, as well as technician skills. If detected and reported as positive, veterinarians and clients have no starting point and can only envision the worst-case scenario. If the same sample is reported as negative, there is a false sense of security, as this animal may still be an intermittent shedder. Real-Time PCR allows us to compare the variable states of infection. By knowing where within the disease process these animals are can help determine a plan of intelligent action. Also, in the event of an outbreak, Real-Time PCR can effectively monitor the success of clean-up efforts.
Real-Time PCR monitoring reduces possible contamination, provides results more quickly and saves technician time. All this adds up to greater sensitivity, faster results and cost savings that are passed on directly to you! Thanks to Real-Time PCR and volume, R.A.L. now performs testing six days per week with up to three runs daily. Samples sent overnight can be tested and reported back to you the same day they are received in the lab. All results are faxed back within 24 hours, and hard copies are also mailed, all at no additional cost! New technology and great clients make for a successful and growing industry. We thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to many more successful years in the future.