Automated evaluation of IFA for infection diagnosis
The EUROPattern system has been extended to include computer-aided evaluation of indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFA) for infectious disease diagnosis. Parameters encompass Chlamydia spp., Bartonella spp., Mycoplasma spp., HHV-6, CHIKV, coxsackievirus, EBV, DENV, hantaviruses, sandfly fever viruses, YFV and ZIKV. The assays utilize infected cells, antigen-expressing cells or bacterial smears to detect the corresponding antibodies in patient samples. IFA BIOCHIP Mosaics provide combinations of different substrates for efficient multiplex analyses. The EUROPattern microscope provides automated acquisition of the immunofluorescence images for convenient evaluation at the PC screen. It allows fast automated focusing and image recording for up to 500 fields in less than two hours. Slides are identified by means of matrix codes, eliminating the risk of mix-ups. Results can be checked retrospectively at the microscope if necessary. For selected parameters, e.g. EBV, sophisticated classification software provides positive/negative classification of the fluorescence signals, including titre designations with confidence values for positive samples. Negative results can be verified in batch for increased efficiency. The controlled LED in the microscope provides over 50,000 hours of constant light intensity, ensuring highly reproducible results. Results are consolidated into one report per patient and compared with previous findings. Different software user levels provide a hierarchical review of results, thus increasing security. All fluorescence images and reports are digitally archived. The software can be fully integrated into existing laboratory software (LIS) for a streamlined laboratory routine. The infection parameters complement established EUROPattern applications, such as the fully automated evaluation of ANA, ANCA, Crithidia luciliae, recombinant-cell and antigen-dot IFA.