“April 22, 2002 Intelligence: Late Breaking Lab News”

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Careside, Inc.’s point-of-care instruments for routine chemistry and hematology are moving into the clinical marketplace. (See TDR, November 22, 1999.) Through January, the company, based in Culver City, California, had placed 73 units, with another 17 on order. Careside’s marketing strategy is to emphasize sales of these instruments to physician office settings rather than hospitals. It offers three products, the CARESIDE Analyzer, the H-2000 Hematogy Analyzer, and the CARESIDE Connect record management system which creates the electronic bridge to feed test results into the LIS or patient information system.

FDA CLEARS ORASURE’S UPLINK TEST SYSTEM

OraSure Technologies, Inc.’s UPlink™ test system for opiates was recently cleared by the FDA. This makes it the only point-of-care, oral fluid-based test for opiates to have FDA clearance. OraSure is developing a multiplex test system using UPlink technology.

STREP BACTERIA ACQUIRE RESISTANCE TO ANTIBIOTICS

First proof that Group A streptococcus is gaining resistance to common antibiotics was announced by researchers in a report published by the New England Journal of Medicine last week. In a study conducted at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, researchers discovered that lab tests were uncovering a strain of Group A streptococcus that was not killed by erythromycin. Pediatric patients with strep were successfully treated with penicillin or amoxicillin. According to Judith Martin, M.D., one of the researchers, in January 2001, about 15% of patients with strep had the resistant strain. This had increased to 18% by school years’ end, in June 2001.

ADD TO: Strep resistance

Dr. Martin and her colleagues believe the erythromycin-resistant strep bacteria are not unique to Pittsburgh. She said it’s likely that this strain will be found elsewhere in the United States. The discovery that certain strains of Group A streptococcus are resistant to erythromycin is considered important evidence that antibiotics are being overprescribed. One recommendation is that physicians begin testing for antibiotic-resistant strains by using throat swabs.

BREAKING NEWS!
James Peter, M.D., Ph.D. Steps Down at Specialty

As this issue of THE DARK REPORT went to press, Specialty Laboratories, Inc. announced on April 22nd that James B. Peter, M.D., Ph.D. was stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Existing Board Members Thomas R. Testman will become Chairman and Douglas S. Harrington, M.D. will become interim CEO. In a telephone conversation with THE DARK REPORT, Dr. Peter para- phrased Harry Truman by saying that “the buck stopped with him.” He also noted that Specialty Laboratories was moving expeditiously to resolve its issues with lab regulators and was devoting major resources to maintain the integrity and quality of its lab testing.

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