Development and clinical validation of multiplex TaqMan® assays for rapid diagnosis of viral gastroenteritis.

S.A. Feeney, V.J. Armstrong, S.J. Mitchell, L. Crawford, Conall McCaughey, Peter Coyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


There is a need to provide rapid, sensitive, and often high throughput detection of pathogens in diagnostic virology. Viral gastroenteritis is a serious health issue often leading to hospitalization in the young, the immunocompromised and the elderly. The common causes of viral gastroenteritis include rotavirus, norovirus (genogroups I and II), astrovirus, and group F adenoviruses (serotypes 40 and 41). This article describes the work-up of two internally controlled multiplex, probe-based PCR assays and reports on the clinical validation over a 3-year period, March 2007 to February 2010. Multiplex assays were developed using a combination of TaqMan™ and minor groove binder (MGB™) hydrolysis probes. The assays were validated using a panel of 137 specimens, previously positive via a nested gel-based assay. The assays had improved sensitivity for adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus (97.3% vs. 86.1%, 100% vs. 87.8%, and 95.1% vs. 79.5%, respectively) and also more specific for targets adenovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus (99% vs. 95.2%, 100% vs. 93.6%, and 97.9% vs. 92.3%, respectively). For the specimens tested, both assays had equal sensitivity and specificity for astrovirus (100%). Overall the probe-based assays detected 16 more positive specimens than the nested gel-based assay. Post-introduction to the routine diagnostic service, a total of 9,846 specimens were processed with multiplex 1 and 2 (7,053 pediatric, 2,793 adult) over the 3-year study period. This clinically validated, probe-based multiplex testing algorithm allows highly sensitive and timely diagnosis of the four most prominent causes of viral gastroenteritis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1650-1656
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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