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J Infect Dis. 2003 Aug 15;188(4):578-80. Epub 2003 Aug 5.

Quantification of the influenza virus load by real-time polymerase chain reaction in nasopharyngeal swabs of patients treated with oseltamivir.

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  • 1Research Center in Infectious Diseases of CHUQ-CHUL and Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.


Influenza A virus load was assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in nasopharyngeal swabs of infected patients treated with oseltamivir. The mean pretreatment virus load was significantly lower in the 24 patients (group A) who initiated treatment within 24 h of the onset of symptoms than it was in the 26 patients (group B) who initiated treatment between 24 and 48 h (1.6x105 vs. 8.4x105 copies/600 ng of total RNA, P=.04); after 48 h of treatment, twice as many patients in group B still had a positive PCR result, compared with patients in group A (42.3% vs. 20.7%). These virological results support the clinical benefit provided by early therapeutic intervention of influenza illness.

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