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Frequently asked questions: SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529/Omicron variant

On 26 November 2021 the WHO designated the new SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.529, now named Omicron, a variant of concern.
Much is still unknown about Omicron and it is expected that the variant’s real world impact will become clearer over the next weeks.

Covid-19 associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA)

In individuals with co-morbidities, defective immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 may allow unrestricted viral replication which elicits hyperinflammation and severe complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
COVID-19 resulting in ARDS has recently emerged as an important disease that predisposes patients to secondary pulmonary aspergillosis.

Advances in molecular oncology: Liquid biopsy for non-small cell lung cancer

In recent years, liquid biopsies have emerged as a promising tool in the fields of molecular oncology and precision medicine. Liquid biopsy methodology typically analyses genomic DNA isolated from circulating tumour cells (CTCs) or circulating cell-free tumour DNA (cfDNA/ctDNA) in a peripheral blood sample, to gain insight into the genomic profile of the patients’ tumour.

Polymyxin guidelines

Due to a rapid increase in serious infections related to especially carbapenemase producing Enterobacterales, the clinical use of the polymyxin antibiotics colistin (polymyxin E), and polymyxin B has recently resurged as salvage therapy for otherwise untreatable Gram-negative infections.

Your newborn baby’s screening test brochure

Newborn screening is a process where infants are screened for specific conditions shortly after birth. These conditions may not always be clinically evident in the newborn period.

Newborn Screening: Clinician and Parent support service

Newborn screening (NBS) is a form of preventative health care and entails the process of screening infants for specific genetic conditions in the first few days of their life.

Products of Conception Chromosome screening

Chromosomal aneuploidies (abnormal number of chromosomes) are the most common of first trimester miscarriage, accounting for more than 50% of spontaneous abortions.

Family ancestry in the context of diagnostic genetic testing

Genetics is an evolving field, and even though technology has improved in order to identify more disease-causing genetic variants, current laboratory testing strategies still have significant limitations.

Hepatitis E: Is this Virus Relevant in Southern Africa?

A fairly recent article on the nationwide outbreak of Hepatitis E (HEV) in informal settlements in Namibia as well as the recent academic interest in this previously mostly ignored virus, prompted this EduPath.

Update on molecular testing for respiratory pathogens

Testing for respiratory pathogens using comprehensive multiplex molecular panels have become a valuable diagnostic tool to assist in early identification of causative organisms. Appropriate use supports timely and directed antimicrobial therapy, especially for organisms that cannot be routinely cultured (e.g Mycoplasma, Legionella, Chlamydophila, Bordetella, and viruses); decreases in-hospital admission rate, length of hospital stay, and also assists in antimicrobial stewardship by avoiding the use of empiric antimicrobial agents

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Diabetes Antibodies

Immune-mediated diabetes is characterized by the presence of circulating specific antibodies against the pancreatic islets such as glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA), islet antigen-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A), or zinc transporter-8 autoantibodies (ZnT8A).

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Retesting after a positive PCR outcome for SARS-CoV-2

The presence of viral RNA in respiratory samples is critical information in the diagnosis of an acute SARS-COV-2 infection. The real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detects these pieces of RNA. But RT-PCR is a poor test of cure. The presence of RNA does not imply the presence of infectious or replication-competent virus.

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Cytogenomics is used as a general term that encompasses conventional karyotyping, as well as molecular cytogenetics (fluorescence in situ hybridization-FISH), microarrays and molecular-based techniques

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In response to the many questions being asked of us as to when we would be able to offer antibody testing; this is a brief note of explanation as to the processes we have to follow before we may offer the tests.

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PathCare now offers SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 testing

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) China country office reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been confirmed as the causative virus of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This virus has since spread to all continents and South Africa’s first case was identified on 5 March 2020.

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