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Yonsei Med J. 2013 May 1;54(3):560-6. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2013.54.3.560.

Tools to detect influenza virus.

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Department of Immunology and Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonbuk National University Medical School, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju 561-712, Korea.


In 2009, pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus (H1N1 09) started to spread quickly in many countries. It causes respiratory infection with signs and symptoms of common infectious agents. Thus, clinicians sometimes may miss the H1N1 patient. Clinical laboratory tests are important for the diagnosis of the H1N1 infection. There are several tests available, however, the rapid test and direct fluorescence antigen test are unable to rule out the influenza virus infection and viral culture test is time consuming. Therefore, nucleic acid amplification techniques based on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays are regarded as a specific diagnosis to confirm the influenza virus infection. Although the nucleic acid-based techniques are highly sensitive and specific, the high mutation rate of the influenza RNA-dependent RNA polymerase could limit the utility of the techniques. In addition, their use depends on the availability, cost and throughput of the diagnostic techniques. To overcome these drawbacks, evaluation and development of the techniques should be continued. This review provides an overview of various techniques for specific diagnosis of influenza infection.


H1N1; Influenza virus; RT-PCR; laboratory diagnosis

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