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

45 respiratory specimens from 87 patients living in Asia, Europe, and the United States who were enrolled in a prospective study of influenza illness, including assessment of neuraminidase resistance, were analyzed. In addition 96 pre-pandemic influenza A/H1N1 viruses from the epidemic of 2007-2008 were analyzed by the H275Y assay to check the robustness of the assay.

The influenza quantification assay was used to check for virus positivity and to obtain virus particle counts for all analyzed samples. Influenza A viruses were then subtyped and tested for presence of oseltamivir resistance mutations using the resistance RT-PCR assays. In total, 129 respiratory specimens tested positive for influenza A and 60 for influenza B virus. One sample tested positive for both virus types.

"RT-PCR based assays have become the standard in most diagnostic laboratories worldwide in recent years," comments lead investigator Martin Schutten, PhD, Head of the Clinical Virology Unit at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. "The assays described here cover all currently circulating human influenza viruses and can detect major resistance mutations to oseltamivir. By introducing external quantification and internal standards, longitudinal assay performance can be monitored carefully and a virus particle count can be assigned to an analyzed sample.

"This algorithm can generate useful data to assist in the management of individual influenza virus infected patients and to evaluate clinical trials. Information regarding influenza virus (sub) type, viral load and antiviral susceptibility can be obtained within one working day. Alongside previously described assays that detect antiviral resistance associated mutations in 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus, these assays are a powerful tool for the clinical management of influenza virus infected patients," he concludes.

Although infection from H7N9, the new potential pandemic Influenza strain, or H5N1, a
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Contact: David Sampson
jmdmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3171
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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