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J Clin Microbiol. 1993 Aug;31(8):2218-21.

Prospective application of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for diagnosing influenza infections in respiratory samples from a children's hospital.

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Department of Virology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


A prospective clinical evaluation of the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RNA PCR) for detection of influenza viruses was carried out with specimens from 342 patients of a children's hospital in The Netherlands. The RNA PCR, carried out directly on the specimens without an organic extraction, showed a sensitivity and specificity which are superior to those of direct immunofluorescence and comparable to those of cell culture combined with immunofluorescence (culture/IF). Negative results can be obtained within 2 days by the RNA PCR but may take up to 14 days by culture/IF. Because culturing is the standard technique for the detection of respiratory viruses, at this moment there are no strong arguments to replace culture/IF with RNA PCR for the detection of influenza A virus.

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