Comparative evaluation of Taqman real-time PCR and semi-nested VP1 PCR for detection of enteroviruses in clinical specimens
Molecular diagnostic tests to detect enterovirus in clinical specimens usually target highly conserved sites in the 5'-non-translated region, allowing detection of all members of the genus. The sequences in the 5'-NTR do not correlate with serotype, but PCR and sequencing of the VP1 region can be used for typing; this system has largely replaced traditional antigenic typing. To investigate the relative performance of two common enterovirus assays. We compared the relative sensitivities of Taqman real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) and a VP1 semi-nested PCR (RT-snPCR) assay in which sequencing the VP1 amplicon also provides typing information. There was 89% concordance between the two methods among the 371 clinical specimens tested (74 positive in both assays and 257 negative in both assays). Twenty-seven rRT-PCR-negative/VP1-positive specimens were confirmed positive by sequencing; 13 specimens were rRT-PCR-positive/VP1-negative. The results suggest that either assay can produce satisfactory results, but that using both assays in parallel should provide the highest sensitivity for clinical diagnostic testing.