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J Virol Methods. 2000 Oct;90(1):1-14.

Simplified procedure for detection of enteric pathogenic viruses in shellfish by RT-PCR.

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Service R&D, Institut Pasteur de Lille, 1 rue du Professeur Calmette, BP 245, 59019 Cedex, Lille, France.


Epidemiological evidence linking the transmission of enteric viral disease to shellfish has been known for a long time. A variety of methods have been described for the detection of viral contaminants in shellfish using RT-PCR. However, these methods generally include numerous, often fastidious and time consuming steps for virus release from shellfish tissues and viral RNA isolation. A simplified procedure based on the enzymatic liquefaction of shellfish digestive tissues without any mechanical homogenisation step, followed by a simple clarification of the lysate using dichloromethane extraction, was developed. Viral RNA is isolated directly from the shellfish extract by a guanidium thiocyanate-silica extraction method, adapted for the use of a vacuum manifold system. Virus-specific RT-PCR assays were set up for detection of genomic sequences of the predominant viral pathogens, HAV, Astrovirus and Norwalk-like viruses (from genogoups I or II). The specificity of the amplicons is confirmed finally by hybridisation with DIG-labelled specific probes. The overall procedure applied to shellfish samples spiked with HAV particles allowed a detection of 20 pfu of HAV per g of hepatopancreas. In addition, up to 20 samples can be tested within 24 h.

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