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Detection of human metapneumovirus in respiratory secretions by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, indirect immunofluorescence, and virus isolation in human bronchial epithelial cells

Lookup NU author(s): Ruth Ingram, Sarah Fenwick, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Toms


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Over two winters in Newcastle upon Tyne, respiratory secretions, negative by immunofluorescence staining for other respiratory viruses, were tested for the presence of human metapneumovirus (HMPV) by RT-PCR. In the second winter, specimens were also tested by immunofluorescence staining with an anti-HMPV polyclonal rabbit antiserum and immunofluorescence positive specimens were inoculated into a line of human bronchiolar cells, 16HBE140. Overall, 55 of 549 (10%) specimens tested were positive for HMPV by RT-PCR. Of 162 specimens tested by both RT/PCR and immunofluorescence staining, 23 were positive by both techniques. Of five specimens positive by RT-PCR alone, only one was confirmed with a second set of primers. Of three specimens positive by immunofluorescence alone, only one was confirmed by virus culture. All four previously recognized sub-genotypes of the virus were identified by both RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining. Sub-genotype A1 was prevalent in the first winter and B1 prevalent in the second. HMPV replication and virus isolation rates were higher in 16HBE140 cells than in monkey kidney cells and did not require exogenous trypsin. Low passage isolates of both sub-genotypes A2 and B1 replicated slowly reaching peak titers only 12 days after inoculation. In summary, single round RT/PCR and immunofluorescence staining with a polyclonal rabbit antiserum proved of equal sensitivity in the diagnosis of HMPV infection in respiratory secretions both detecting 96% of confirmed positive specimens. 16HBE40 cells provided a significant improvement on monkey kidney cells for the isolation and propagation of the virus. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ingram RE, Fenwick F, McGuckin M, Tefari A, Taylor C, Toms GL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Virology

Year: 2006

Volume: 78

Issue: 9

Pages: 1223-1231

ISSN (print): 0146-6615

ISSN (electronic): 1096-9071

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/jmv.20685

PubMed id: 16847967


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