Was there an independent, blind comparison with a reference (gold) standard?Dutta et al used blood culture as the gold standard. For all subjects, both a blood culture and universal PCR were performed at the time of clinical evaluation for sepsis, and additional PCR tests were performed at 12, 24, and 48 hours after the initial evaluation. A sepsis screen was also performed during the initial evaluation. This screening, which included complete blood cell count, micro–erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and CRP, seems to be a favored diagnostic adjunct for bacterial sepsis in the unit where the study was performed. The authors do not state whether study personnel performing universal PCR were blinded to the results of the blood culture or sepsis screening. However, the evaluation of the PCR assay result as described is unlikely to be influenced by interpretation of either of the other tests. Therefore, lack of blinding probably had a minimal effect on the validity of the results.