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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jun;31(6):1257-65. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1437-1. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Comparison of the novel ResPlex III assay and existing techniques for the detection and subtyping of influenza virus during the influenza season 2006-2007.

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Laboratory Prof. G. Enders and Partner & Institute of Virology, Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology e.V., Rosenbergstrasse 85, 70193, Stuttgart, Germany.


Influenza virus is a major cause of disease worldwide. The accurate detection and further subtyping of influenza A viruses are important for epidemiologic surveillance, and subsequent comprehensive characterization of circulating influenza viruses is essential for the selection of an optimal vaccine composition. ResPlex III is a new multiplex reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based method for detecting, typing, and subtyping influenza virus in clinical specimens. The ResPlex III assay was compared with other methods with respect to sensitivity and accuracy, using 450 clinical specimens obtained from subjects throughout Germany during the 2006-2007 influenza season. Samples were analyzed for the presence of influenza virus in Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells by rapid cell culture using peroxidase staining and conventional cell culture confirmed by hemagglutination inhibition assay, a rapid diagnostic assay (Directigen Flu A+B test; BD Diagnostic Systems, Heidelberg, Germany), in-house real-time RT-PCR (RRT-PCR), and ResPlex III (Qiagen, Hilden, Germany). ResPlex III had the highest sensitivity for detecting influenza virus in clinical specimens, followed by in-house RRT-PCR (96% compared with ResPlex III). Conventional cell culture in MDCK cells, rapid culture, and quick test assays were substantially less sensitive (55%, 72%, and 39%, respectively). Virus subtyping results were identical using ResPlex III and the standard virological subtyping method, hemagglutination inhibition. ResPlex III is a quick, accurate, and sensitive assay for detecting and typing influenza A and B viruses and subtyping influenza A viruses in clinical specimens, and might be considered for a supplemental role in worldwide seasonal and pandemic influenza surveillance.

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