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Improved molecular tools streamline influenza testing and management
Date:4/17/2013

Philadelphia, PA, April 17, 2013 Over 40,000 people die each year in the United States from influenza-related diseases. In patients whose immune systems are compromised, antiviral therapy may be life-saving, but it needs to be initiated quickly. It is therefore crucial to diagnose and type the influenza rapidly. Scientists in the Netherlands have designed and evaluated a set of molecular assays that they say are a sensitive and good alternative for conventional diagnostic methods and can produce results in one day without the need for additional equipment. The results are published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.

Currently the main circulating influenza viruses that cause disease in humans are the influenza A H3N2 and H1N1 subtypes together with influenza B virus. Re-emergence of a variant of the H1N1 influenza virus, which circulated in the population between 1977 and 2009, can also not be ruled out. Strategies to combat influenza virus-induced disease rely on vaccination as a preventive measure. In cases where vaccine efficacy is low, antiviral drugs may be used as prophylaxis.

Traditionally the adamantane and neuraminidase inhibitor class of drugs are available for both treatment and prophylaxis. However some subtypes are resistant to these. Most of the recently circulating influenza viruses are resistant to the adamantanes. In addition, the pre-pandemic H1N1 viruses, which emerged at the end of 2007, are naturally resistant to the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Sensitive and reproducible molecular assays are therefore essential for diagnosing influenza virus subtypes.

The investigators report on the design, validation, and evaluation of a set of real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays for quantification and subtyping of human influenza A and B viruses from patient respiratory material, as well as four assays for detecting drug resistant mutations. For the evaluation of these assays, 2
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Contact: David Sampson
jmdmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3171
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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