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J Med Virol. 2004 Mar;72(3):484-95.

Simultaneous detection of fourteen respiratory viruses in clinical specimens by two multiplex reverse transcription nested-PCR assays.

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Laboratorio de Virus Respiratorios, Servicio de Virología, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.


There is a need for rapid, sensitive, and accurate diagnosis of lower respiratory tract infections in children, elderly, and immunocompromised patients, who are susceptible to serious complications. The multiplex RT-nested PCR assay has been used widely for simultaneous detection of non-related viruses involved in infectious diseases because of its high specificity and sensitivity. A new multiplex RT-PCR assay is described in this report. This approach includes nested primer sets targeted to conserve regions of human parainfluenza virus haemagglutinin, human coronavirus spike protein, and human enterovirus and rhinovirus polyprotein genes. It permits rapid, sensitive, and simultaneous detection and typing of the four types of parainfluenza viruses (1, 2, 3, 4AB), human coronavirus 229E and OC43, and the generic detection of enteroviruses and rhinoviruses. The testing of 201 clinical specimens with this multiplex assay along with other one formerly described by our group to simultaneously detect and type the influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial viruses, and a generic detection of all serotypes of adenovirus, covers the detection of most viruses causing respiratory infectious disease in humans. The results obtained were compared with conventional viral culture, immunofluorescence assay, and a third multiplex RT-PCR assay for all human parainfluenza viruses types described previously. In conclusion, both multiplex RT-PCR assays provide a system capable of detecting and identifying simultaneously 14 different respiratory viruses in clinical specimens with high sensitivity and specificity, being useful for routine diagnosis and survey of these viruses within the population.

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