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J Virol Methods. 1991 Jan;31(1):119-36.

Detection of hepatitis A virus and other enteroviruses in water by ssRNA probes.

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School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400.


Sensitive and specific methods are needed to detect hepatitis A virus (HAV) and other human enteroviruses in environmental samples such as drinking water and foods. Clones of cDNA encoding the 5'-most 1 kb of the HAV and coxsackievirus B3 (CB3) genomes were subcloned into T7/SP6 RNA transcription vectors. In vitro transcribed RNA from the T7 promoter detected their respective HAV or CB3 genomic RNA. Conversely, SP6 transcripts detected viral negative-stranded RNA but not the genome. When both ssRNA probes were tested at high temperature (65 degrees C), they did not hybridize with intracellular RNAs from 6 primate cell cultures used for isolation of HAV and other enteroviruses. The HAV probe did not hybridize with 13 different enteroviruses but detected as little as 500-1000 infectious units of the 7 strains of HAV tested. Conversely, the CB3 probe showed strong homology with all 13 enteroviruses tested but not HAV. The probes were used to detect HAV and other enteroviruses in water samples after virus amplification in cell culture. HAV was detected in water samples obtained during a waterborne hepatitis outbreak using the ssRNA probe. These samples were negative for HAV by direct solid phase radioimmunoassay and were not positive by immunoassays of inoculated cell cultures until several weeks of propagation. The CB3 ssRNA probe detected enteroviruses in samples of surface water and drinking water that were negative for cytopathic effects in inoculated cell cultures.

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