This October brings several “firsts” for CLP and Ascend Media. Inside you’ll find our first supplement on the topic of hospital-acquired infections, which continue to be a major issue in facilities across the nation. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, leads the pack in both public awareness and development of rapid diagnostics, but other pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, are increasingly becoming problematic. See this month’s Tech Focus for a product overview of assays for these agents, and look for lots more on this topic in the coming months.

One infectious disease that presents a menace every fall is the annual flu epidemic. This issue presents CLP’s first survey of flu and other respiratory viral testing products. Presented in tabular format, it makes a handy reference guide as laboratorians stock up on products in preparation for flu season. Respiratory viral assays are available in a variety of formats, including rapid immunoassays, culture tests, and, newest to the table, PCR-based molecular tests.

Our cover story this month features our first coverage devoted specifically to PCR-based diagnostics. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology became established in clinical labs as the gold standard for viral load monitoring in HIV-infected individuals, but is increasingly being applied to testing for other infectious as well as genetic diseases. Recognizing that ease of use and standardization of assays are of paramount importance to labs, vendors are rushing to meet these needs. Expect to see lots more on PCR technologies in CLP in the future, including a series of podcasts on the topic.

The best way to watch for these is to visit our Web site,, which brings me to our next first. CLP’s Web site has been relaunched this month, with a fresh new look and navigation, which we hope will make it easier for you to locate the information you need on the latest product releases, disease-specific assays, and industry news. And to keep up on the latest headlines affecting the clinical labs industry, visit our site and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, CLPrime. The newsletter has also been revamped this month—please take a look and let us know what you think!

I’m always happy to hear from readers, and I invite you to contact me at [email protected] or (858) 793-9533.

Suzanne Clancy, PhD
editor, CLP

(858) 793-9533