How our tests work

For more detailed information and links to suppliers of commercial kits, please refer to the LIFE Worldwide diagnostics page or watch video protocols on their YouTube channel

Galactomannan

GM is a fungal cell wall antigen produced by Aspergillus, Histoplasma, Fusarium, Talaromyces and some other fungi. This test is commonly used to detect invasive aspergillosis or disseminated histoplasmosis. Not recommended for patients on mould-active prophylaxis.

Beta-D-glucan

BDG is a cell wall antigen found in most pathogenic fungi (but not Mucorales), which makes the test useful for excluding invasive fungal infections as part of an antifungal stewardship programme. False positives can occur if glucans are introduced to the body from the diet (e.g. yoghurts, ice pops, seaweed) or from medical items (e.g. some surgical gauzes or dialysis membranes).

PCR

Aspergillus PCR testing on BAL/sputum can be useful in monitoring disease progression and response to treatment in CPA/ABPA cases.

Antibody

Antibody testing is useful for diagnosing and monitoring a limited number of conditions including ABPA, CPA, candidiasis and coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever).

Aspergillus precipitins (IgG) are measured in serum. The test for Aspergillus fumigatus is the best validated, but other species are also available (we offer A. terreus, A. flavus, A. niger and A. nidulans).

Aspergillus IgE testing can also be used in diagnosing ABPA or SAFS.

Identification & sequencing

Fungi are grown on agar and then identified using molecular methods (sequencing, mass spectrometry) or traditional methods such as microscopy.

Therapeutic drug monitoring

Several antifungals require therapeutic drug monitoring, particularly for patients with hepatic or renal impairment. In particular, serum concentrations of itraconazole and voriconazole can vary substantially between patients due to variable pharmacokinetics, and require TDM in order to make the appropriate dose adjustments.

Specimen collection