Detection of the pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza A virus by a highly sensitive quantitative real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assay
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Yang, Z., Mao, G., Liu, Y. et al. Virol. Sin. (2013) 28: 24. doi:10.1007/s12250-013-3290-0
- 253 Downloads
A quantitative real time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assay with specific primers recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been widely used successfully for detection and monitoring of the pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza A virus. In this study, we report the design and characterization of a novel set of primers to be used in a qRT-PCR assay for detecting the pandemic H1N1/2009 virus. The newly designed primers target three regions that are highly conserved among the hemagglutinin (HA) genes of the pandemic H1N1/2009 viruses and are different from those targeted by the WHO-recommended primers. The qRT-PCR assays with the newly designed primers are highly specific, and as specific as the WHO-recommended primers for detecting pandemic H1N1/2009 viruses and other influenza viruses including influenza B viruses and influenza A viruses of human, swine, and raccoon dog origin. Furthermore, the qRT-PCR assays with the newly designed primers appeared to be at least 10-fold more sensitive than those with the WHO-recommended primers as the detection limits of the assays with our primers and the WHO-recommended primers were 2.5 and 25 copies of target RNA per reaction, respectively. When tested with 83 clinical samples, 32 were detected to be positive using the qRT-PCR assays with our designed primers, while only 25 were positive by the assays with the WHO-recommended primers. These results suggest that the qRT-PCR system with the newly designed primers represent a highly sensitive assay for diagnosis of the pandemic H1N1/2009 virus infection.