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Evaluation of the NucliSens Basic Kit assay for detection of Norwalk virus RNA in stool specimens

Evaluation of the NucliSens Basic Kit assay for detection of Norwalk virus RNA in stool specimens

Journal of Virological Methods 108(1): 123-131

Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs) are a genetically diverse group of human caliciviruses that are the most common cause of epidemic gastroenteritis and are detected typically in stool by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR or electron microscopy (EM). The application of a rapid nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) assay for the detection of NLV RNA in stool is described using the NucliSens Basic Kit. Primers and probes for the NLV Basic Kit assay were based on the RNA polymerase region of the prototype NLV, Norwalk virus (NV) genome and could consistently detect 10(4) RT-PCR detectable units of NV RNA in a stool filtrate. When compared directly with RT-PCR on a dilution series of NV stool filtrate, the NucliSens Basic Kit assay was equally sensitive. Cross-reactivity studies with a representative panel of other enteric pathogens were negative. When applied to 15 stool specimens from NV-challenged volunteers, the NASBA Basic Kit application for NV detection yielded 100% sensitivity, 50% specificity, and 67% concordance, using RT-PCR as the 'gold standard'. Despite the specificity of the NASBA primer/probe sequences for NV, other representatives from both NLV genogroups I and II could be detected by the Basic Kit assay in outbreak stool specimens, although the results were inconsistent. Our results suggest that the NucliSens Basic Kit assay provides a rapid and sensitive alternative to RT-PCR for detecting NV RNA in stool specimens. However, improvements in test specificity and primer design will be needed before the assay can be used routinely in the clinical setting.

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Accession: 046014311

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PMID: 12565163

DOI: 10.1016/s0166-0934(02)00286-0

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