Paediatrics Publications

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World Journal of Pediatrics





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Background: Rapid detection of the wide range of viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infection in children is important for patient care and antibiotic stewardship. We therefore designed and evaluated a ready-to-use 22 target respiratory infection reverse-transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) panel to determine if this would improve detection of these agents at our pediatric hospital. Methods: RT-qPCR assays for twenty-two target organisms were dried-down in individual wells of 96 well plates and saved at room temperature. Targets included 18 respiratory viruses and 4 bacteria. After automated nucleic acid extraction of nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) samples, rapid qPCR was performed. RT-qPCR results were compared with those obtained by the testing methods used at our hospital laboratories. Results: One hundred fifty-nine pediatric NPA samples were tested with the RT-qPCR panel. One or more respiratory pathogens were detected in 132/159 (83%) samples. This was significantly higher than the detection rate of standard methods (94/159, 59%) (P<0.001). This difference was mainly due to improved RT-qPCR detection of rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses, bocavirus, and coronaviruses. The panel internal control assay performance remained stable at room temperature storage over a two-month testing period. Conclusion: The RT-qPCR panel was able to identify pathogens in a high proportion of respiratory samples. The panel detected more positive specimens than the methods in use at our hospital. The pre-made panel format was easy to use and rapid, with results available in approximately 90 minutes. We now plan to determine if use of this panel improves patient care and antibiotic stewardship.