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Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2010 Mar;10(2):207-18. doi: 10.1586/erm.09.85.

Ante- and post-mortem diagnosis of rabies using nucleic acid-amplification tests.

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WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training on Viral Zoonoses, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Thai Red Cross Society, Bangkok, Thailand, 10330.


Sensitivity, specificity and short turn-around time nucleic acid-amplification tests (NATs) have been steadily improving. NATs have been employed in the diagnosis of rabies to distinct different strains, as well as to identify new lyssaviruses. NATs have advantages over traditional methods, such as the direct fluorescence antibody test. They can be applied to fluid samples and brain tissue that is substantially decomposed. NATs can be used as an alternative method for confirmation or exclusion of the diagnosis in a suspected rabies patient. Real-time PCR methods are more favored than conventional reverse-transcription PCR methods by several laboratories. Second-round PCR, either nested or heminested, has been used for ante-mortem diagnosis to detect low levels of RNA. This review the details obstacles in making a diagnosis, how to properly utilize NATs (sample preparation, nucleic amplification techniques, amplification targets and primer design); and interprets the results obtained in recent studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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