PloS one

Performance comparison of the cobas Liat and Cepheid GeneXpert systems for Clostridium difficile detection.

PMID 30040852


Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a high burden and significant cause of healthcare-acquired infectious diarrhea in the United States (US). Timely and accurate diagnosis of CDI enables the rapid initiation of antibiotic therapy and infection control policies to minimize disease transmission. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays have become a preferred modality for diagnosing CDI in the US. The cobas Liat Cdiff PCR test is a novel assay that can be performed on-demand for hospital-based testing with a rapid 20-minute turnaround time from specimen collection to result reporting. We compared the clinical performance of the cobas Liat Cdiff test to the previously introduced Xpert C. difficile/Epi test; both tests are FDA-cleared PCR assays that detect the toxin B (tcdB) gene of C. difficile. Prospectively collected and remnant stool specimens from 310 patients with suspected CDI were obtained for analysis. The cobas Liat Cdiff and Xpert PCR tests showed an overall percent agreement of 97.4% (302/310; 95% CI: 95.0-98.9). Low bacterial burdens of toxigenic C. difficile, indicated by significantly delayed PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values, explained most of the discordance. Positive and negative percent agreement of the cobas Liat Cdiff test compared to the Xpert PCR test were 94.5% (52/55) and 98.0% (250/255), respectively. The clinical performance of the cobas Liat Cdiff test, combined with its simplicity of use and rapid result reporting, provides a reliable option for clinical laboratory use.