Assessing a diagnosis tool for bacterial vaginosis

Ravesh Singh, Veron Ramsuran, Nireshni Mitchev, Abraham Johannes Niehaus, Khine Swe Swe Han, Farzana Osman, Sinaye Ngcapu, Salim Abdool Karim, Anne Rompalo, Nigel Garrett, Koleka Mlisana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in resource-poor settings relies on semiquantitative microscopy algorithm such as the Nugent score (NS). We evaluated a quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay to detect and quantify individual BV-associated bacterial communities. Vaginal swabs from 247 South African women attending an STI clinic were evaluated for BV using NS. We used qPCR to analyze DNA from vaginal swabs for eight BV-associated bacteria, Gardnerella vaginalis (GV), Prevotella bivia (PB), BV-associated bacteria 2 (BVAB2), Megasphaera-1 (M-1), Atopobium vaginae (AV), Lactobacillus crispatus (LC), Lactobacillus jensenii (LJ), and Lactobacillus iners (LI). Sensitivities and specificities were generated for each qPCR assay. Using a ROC analysis, cutoffs were calculated for each bacterial species. A logistic regression model was used to determine the strongest predictors of BV status. Nugent scores indicated 35.6% of patients harbor BV-associated flora (NS 7-10). AV, GV, GAMB (GV + AV + M-1 + BVAB2), and LC + LJ showed the highest AUC, sensitivities, and specificities (listed respectively): AV (0.96; 96%; 93%), GV (0.88; 78%; 79%), GAMB (0.9; 87%; 82%), and LC + LJ (0.84; 82%; 72%) (all p < 0.05). Increased GAMB copies (effect = 0.15, p = 0.01) and decreased LC + LJ copies (effect = − 0.26, p < 0.0001) demonstrated the strongest association with higher BV scoring. Scoring of BV did not differ across our qPCR assay when compared to the commercial BD MAX® and the gold standard Nugent scores. We developed an accurate assay, which has the potential to be used as a BV diagnosis tool that is cost-effective and has the potential to be utilized in a resource limited setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1481-1485
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Diagnosis
  • Real-time PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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