BioFire: A New System to Detect Infections

Many infectious diseases cause similar signs and symptoms, making testing and diagnosing difficult. Traditional targeted diagnostics limit testing to only the most common disease causing agents. In addition, traditional testing can require several days for a diagnosis to be made, delaying appropriate treatment.

“By utilizing the BioFire syndromic diagnostic approach, we can identify actual causative agents within one to two hours. This faster turn around time allows us to more accurately diagnose the infection, which improves patient care by allowing more judicial use of antibiotics. In turn, there is less chance of antimicrobial resistance and an overall reduction in antibiotic use,” explains Michael Blank, MD, infectious disease.

Currently the laboratory at Firelands is using the system’s Blood Culture Identification Panel to test for 27 of the most common causes of bloodstream infections, which allows clinicians to quickly identify the probable cause of sepsis and prescribe the most beneficial treatment.

Also in use is the Meningitis/Encephalitis Panel to test for a comprehensive set of the 14 bacteria, viruses and yeast that cause infections in the central nervous system. Rapidly identifying the probable cause of these potentially severe conditions can allow faster decisions on appropriate therapy, and BioFire does just that.


“In the past, we would have to send out the patient's spinal fluid sample for viral testing and have to wait approximately one week for results. The patient couldn’t be discharged until we received the results and could make a diagnosis. Now with BioFire, we have the results in one to two hours. This long turnaround time for the meningitis panel is what prompted Dr. Blank to look for a faster testing system,” says Julie Kobasher, MT, (ASCP), lead technologist in microbiology in the Firelands laboratory.

Other panels, including those for respiratory, gastrointestinal and lower respiratory tract infection, can be added to the system as needed.

Julie adds, “This new BioFire system provides major benefits for both clinicians and patients. We have increased capability of detecting infections at a much faster rate, which translates to better outcomes for our patients. We are very excited to bring BioFire to our community.”

Learn more about our infectious disease services today.