With the introduction of MALDI-TOF we are inevitably going to see the textbooks re-written on Coagulase Negative Staphylococci (CoNS).
Compared with the traditional biochemical means of identifying CoNS (cumbersome and expensive), with MALDI-TOF we can now identify CoNS accurately and at virtually no cost. Therefore we are going to start learning a lot more about CoNS, their local epidemiology, and the pathogenic potential and preferential colonisation/infection sites of different CoNS strains.
As this knowledge increases, more and more clinicians will want to know exactly what type of CoNS is growing, not just that it is a CoNS. I think that laboratories will increasingly be expected to report the exact staphylococcal species type rather than lumping them all into the one CoNS group….
Our experience so far using MALDI-TOF to identify CoNS in our laboratory has shown a predominance of S. epidermidis, S. warneri, S. haemolyticus, S. capitis and S. saprophyticus strains. It is too early just yet however to draw any more detailed conclusions on the individual CoNS strains. This will come in due course.
Expect to see a few journal articles on this topic in the next few years…. I will keep you updated on the expected MALDI-TOF inspired progress in this area.
Click here for a quick tutorial on the basics of MALDI-TOF.