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Keywords:

  • Children;
  • DFA;
  • multiplex PCR;
  • pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A virus;
  • respiratory viruses;
  • viral culture

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 1900–1906

Abstract

This study compares the performance of four commercial multiplex PCR assays (Resplex II Panel v2.0, Seeplex RV15, xTAG RVP and xTAG RVP Fast) and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining and viral isolation. Seven hundred and fifty nasopharyngeal swabs were tested for 17 viral agents. In each assay, the sensitivity and specificity for each target were determined against a composite reference standard. Two hundred and eighty-eight out of 750 (38.4%) specimens were positive by DFA or viral isolation, while an additional 214 (28.5%) were positive by multiplex PCR, for a total positivity rate of 66.9%. Of 502 positive specimens, one virus was detected in 420 specimens (83.7%), two in 77 (15.3%), three in four (0.8%) and four in one case (0.2%). Compared with a composite reference standard, the inter-assay accuracy of the multiplex PCR assays varied, but all were superior to conventional diagnostic methods in detecting a broad range of respiratory viral agents in children. In addition, the sensitivity of two commercial assays, Resplex II Plus PRE and Seeplex Influenza A/B Subtyping, was determined relative to the Astra influenza Screen & Type assay for detection of influenza A viruses, including seasonal influenzas and pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A virus. Using 75 positive and 55 negative nasopharyngeal swabs for influenza A by the Astra assay, the sensitivity of Seeplex and Resplex was 95.9% and 91.8%, respectively, with a specificity of 100% for both.