ABSTRACT: Acute respiratory tract infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and exert a considerable economic burden on healthcare systems. Acute respiratory tract infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract are caused by a wide variety of viral and bacterial pathogens, which require comprehensive laboratory investigations. Conventional serological and immunofluorescence-based diagnostic methods for acute respiratory tract infections lack sensitivity when compared to polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based approaches and the development of new diagnostic methodologies is required, to provide accurate, sensitive and rapid diagnoses. In the present study, a PCR-based low density oligonucleotide microarray was developed for the detection of 16 viral and two atypical bacterial pathogens. The performance of this DNA microarray-based analysis exhibited comparable sensitivities and specificities to multiplex real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (rtPCRs) confirming the potential diagnostic utility of the method. In contrast to routine multiplex PCR, the microarray incorporates an intrinsic redundancy as multiple and non-identical probes per target on the array allow direct intra-assay confirmation of positives. This study demonstrates that microarray technology provides a viable alternative to conventional serological-based approaches and multiplex PCR for pathogen identification in acute respiratory tract infections.
Journal of virological methods 08/2009; 163(1):17-24. · 2.13 Impact Factor