DNA Probes for Viral Diagnosis
Great excitement has surrounded the development of molecular hybridization techniques for viruses because of the potential of nucleic acid probes as diagnostic reagents. The need for rapid and accurate viral diagnosis has become particularly pressing with the recent availability of numerous drugs which have been clinically proven as effective in antiviral chemotherapy and prophylaxis. Additionally, even for those viruses for which no therapy is currently available or for which none is needed, the ability to diagnose a causative viral pathogen in a patient with a disease of protean manifestations and multiple possible etiologies is of value. Many such patients are routinely treated empirically with unnecessary antibacterial or antifungal drugs until bacterial and/or fungal disease can be ruled out. Proof of viral etiology in such patients will reduce unnecessary therapy and even unnecessary hospitalization. Furthermore, identification of a specific viral pathogen will often allow the physician to predict the patient’s prognosis and need for future care. Viral diagnosis also plays an important role in epidemiology and hospital infection control, where knowledge of the specific infecting virus is critical to characterizing and containing the spread of the virus from person to person. Finally, viral diagnosis can be both money saving and money earning for a hospital and clinic.
KeywordsHybridization Assay Nucleic Acid Hybridization Nucleic Acid Probe Hospital Infection Control Indirect Label
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