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J Virol. 2007 Apr;81(8):4130-6. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Identification of a third human polyomavirus.

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  • 1Laboratory for Clinical Microbiology, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, L2:02, Karolinska University Hospital, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. tobias.allander@karolinska.se


We have previously reported on a system for large-scale molecular virus screening of clinical samples. As part of an effort to systematically search for unrecognized human pathogens, the technology was applied for virus screening of human respiratory tract samples. This resulted in the identification of a previously unknown polyomavirus provisionally named KI polyomavirus. The virus is phylogenetically related to other primate polyomaviruses in the early region of the genome but has very little homology (<30% amino acid identity) to known polyomaviruses in the late region. The virus was found by PCR in 6 (1%) of 637 nasopharyngeal aspirates and in 1 (0.5%) of 192 fecal samples but was not detected in sets of urine and blood samples. Since polyomaviruses have oncogenic potential and may produce severe disease in immunosuppressed individuals, continued searching for the virus in different medical contexts is important. This finding further illustrates how unbiased screening of respiratory tract samples can be used for the discovery of diverse virus types.

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