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J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Jul;49(7):2620-4. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02445-10. Epub 2011 May 18.

Rapid simultaneous detection of enterovirus and parechovirus RNAs in clinical samples by one-step real-time reverse transcription-PCR assay.

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West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom.


Enteroviruses (EVs) are recognized as the major etiological agent in meningitis in children and young adults. The use of molecular techniques, such as PCR, has substantially improved the sensitivity of enterovirus detection compared to that of virus culture methods. PCR-based methods also can detect a much wider range of EV variants, including those within species A, as well as human parechoviruses (HPeVs) that often grow poorly in vitro and which previously have been underdiagnosed by traditional methods. To exploit these developments, we developed a real-time one-step reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for the rapid and sensitive detection of EV and HPeV in clinical specimens. Two commercially available RT-PCR kits were used (method I, Platinum one-step kit; method II, Express qPCR one-step kit) with primers and probes targeting the EV and HPeV 5'-untranslated regions (5'UTR). Amplification dynamics (threshold cycle [C(T)]values and efficiencies) of absolutely quantified full-length RNA transcripts representative of EV species A to D and HPeV were similar, demonstrating the effectiveness of both assays across the range of currently described human EV and HPeV variants. Probit analysis of multiple endpoint replicates demonstrated comparable sensitivities of the assays for EV and HPeV (method I, approximately 10 copies per reaction for both targets; method II, 20 copies per reaction). C(T) values were highly reproducible on repeat testing of positive controls within assays and between assay runs. Considering the sample turnaround time of less than 3 h, the multiplexed one-step RT-PCR method provides rapid diagnostic testing for EV and HPeV in cases of suspected central nervous system infections in a clinically relevant time frame.

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