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      Real-time quantitative PCR assays for detection and monitoring of pathogenic human viruses in immunosuppressed pediatric patients.

      Journal of Clinical Microbiology
      Adolescent, Bone Marrow Transplantation, adverse effects, Child, Child, Preschool, DNA Primers, DNA, Viral, analysis, Humans, Immunocompromised Host, Infant, Polymerase Chain Reaction, methods, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Taq Polymerase, Virus Diseases, diagnosis, virology, Viruses, classification, isolation & purification, pathogenicity

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          A panel of 23 real-time PCR assays based on TaqMan technology has been developed for the detection and monitoring of 16 different viruses and virus families including human polyomaviruses BK virus and JC virus, human herpesviruses 6, 7, and 8, human adenoviruses, herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, parvovirus B19, influenza A and B viruses, parainfluenza viruses 1 to 3, enteroviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus. The test systems presented have a broad dynamic range and display high sensitivity, reproducibility, and specificity. Moreover, the assays allow precise quantification of viral load in a variety of clinical specimens. The ability to use uniform PCR conditions for all assays permits simultaneous processing and detection of many different viruses, thus economizing the diagnostic work. Our observations based on more than 50,000 assays reveal the potential of the real-time PCR tests to facilitate early diagnosis of infection and to monitor the kinetics of viral proliferation and the response to treatment. We demonstrate that, in immunosuppressed patients with invasive virus infections, surveillance by the assays described may permit detection of increasing viral load several days to weeks prior to the onset of clinical symptoms. In virus infections for which specific treatment is available, the quantitative PCR assays presented provide reliable diagnostic tools for timely initiation of appropriate therapy and for rapid assessment of the efficacy of antiviral treatment strategies.

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