Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal aspirates by reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction amplification.

Journal of clinical microbiology

PubMedID: 1374080

Paton AW, Paton JC, Lawrence AJ, Goldwater PN, Harris RJ. Rapid detection of respiratory syncytial virus in nasopharyngeal aspirates by reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction amplification. J Clin Microbiol. 1992;30(4):901-4.
A rapid method for detection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in nasopharyngeal aspirates, involving a combination of reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction amplification (RT-PCR), has been developed. The RT-PCR assay employs oligonucleotide primers specific for the region of the RSV genome which encodes the F1 subunit of the fusion (F) glycoprotein. Other respiratory viruses do not give a positive reaction. The RT-PCR assay was tested on 202 nasopharyngeal aspirates collected from children with clinical signs of respiratory infection, and the results from RT-PCR were compared with those obtained from virus culture and direct detection by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). RT-PCR results were positive in 118 of 125 samples from which RSV was cultured, as well as in 4 of 7 samples which were culture negative but EIA positive. RT-PCR results were negative in 68 of 70 culture-negative, EIA-negative samples, which included 11 samples from which other respiratory viruses were isolated. The speed, sensitivity (94.6%), and specificity (greater than 97%) of the RT-PCR assay suggest that this technique could be useful for rapid detection of RSV in clinical samples.