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Recently discovered virus associated with pediatric respiratory tract infection in Germany
Date:11/20/2007

t metagenomic sequencing, enable pathogen discovery, surveillance and medical diagnostics. Recent application of these technologies led to diagnosis of viral hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, a new virus causing transplant deaths, and detection of Israel Acute Paralysis Virus in honey bees with Colony Collapse Disorder.

To detect pathogens, MassTag PCR uses small molecular tags to detect up to 30 different pathogens simultaneously in one test. Genetic material from a throat swab or other sample is extracted and then mixed with PCR primersshort pieces of DNA that recognize specific nucleic acid sequences within the genomes of the target viruses or bacteria. If a throat swab contains pathogens with nucleic acid sequences that match those of the primers, then the primers will copy the target DNA several million times. Likewise the molecular tags, different in mass for each of the primers, are also amplified making them easily detectable by mass spectrometry, a technology that identifies molecules based on their masses.

The results of the study confirm our earlier findings in New York, namely, that these viruses represent a clinically significant but previously unappreciated species within the entero-/rhinoviruses, one of the longest known and most intensely studied virus groups, stated Thomas Briese, PhD, associate professor of clinical Epidemiology, who coordinated the study. We urgently need drugs and vaccines to address the challenges they pose to child health.

In an editorial commentary in the December 15 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Anne Moscona, MD, departments of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, states that the work of Dr. Lipkins team with MassTag PCR, provides a paradigm for new detection strategies for early recognition and containment of a wide range of respiratory pathogens.


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Contact: Randee Sacks Levine
rs363@columbia.edu
212-305-8044
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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