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Identification of the causative pathogen in infectious diseases is important for surveillance and to guide treatment. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), conventional culture and identification methods, including biochemical methods, are reference-standard. Biochemical methods can lack sensitivity and specificity and have slow turnaround times, causing delays in definitive therapy. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a rapid and accurate diagnostic method. Most studies comparing MALDI-TOF MS and biochemical methods are from high-income countries, with few reports from LMIC with tropical climates. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of MALDI-TOF MS compared to conventional methods in the Philippines. Clinical bacterial or fungal isolates were identified by both MALDI-TOF MS and automated (VITEK2) or manual biochemical methods in the San Lazaro Hospital, Metro Manila, the Philippines. The concordance between MALDI-TOF MS and automated (VITEK2) or manual biochemical methods was analyzed at the species and genus levels. In total, 3530 bacterial or fungal isolates were analyzed. The concordance rate between MALDI-TOF MS and biochemical methods was 96.2% at the species level and 99.9% at the genus level. Twenty-three isolates could not be identified by MALDI-TOF MS. In this setting, MALDI-TOF MS was accurate compared with biochemical methods, at both the genus and the species level. Additionally, MALDI-TOF MS improved the turnaround time for results. These advantages could lead to improved infection management and infection control in low- and middle-income countries, even though the initial cost is high.

Original publication





Tropical medicine and infectious disease

Publication Date





School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nagasaki University, 1-12-4, Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8102, Japan.