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A cost effective real-time PCR for the detection of adenovirus from viral swabs

Turkiya Al-Siyabi1, Khalifa Binkhamis1, Melanie Wilcox2, Sallene Wong3, Kanti Pabbaraju3, Raymond Tellier34, Todd F Hatchette12 and Jason J LeBlanc12*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Microbiology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Capital District Health Authority Room 404B Mackenzie Building, 5788 University Ave., Halifax, NS B3H 1V8

2 Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

3 Provincial Laboratory for Public Health, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

4 University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Virology Journal 2013, 10:184  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-184

Published: 7 June 2013


Compared to traditional testing strategies, nucleic acid amplification tests such as real-time PCR offer many advantages for the detection of human adenoviruses. However, commercial assays are expensive and cost prohibitive for many clinical laboratories. To overcome fiscal challenges, a cost effective strategy was developed using a combination of homogenization and heat treatment with an “in-house” real-time PCR. In 196 swabs submitted for adenovirus detection, this crude extraction method showed performance characteristics equivalent to viral DNA obtained from a commercial nucleic acid extraction. In addition, the in-house real-time PCR outperformed traditional testing strategies using virus culture, with sensitivities of 100% and 69.2%, respectively. Overall, the combination of homogenization and heat treatment with a sensitive in-house real-time PCR provides accurate results at a cost comparable to viral culture.

Homogenization; Extraction; Real-time PCR; Adenovirus; Cost analysis