New Test May Simultaneously Identify Herpesviruses, Enteroviruses, and Flaviviruses
Aug 18, 2005 - 2:39:38 AM

Researchers from France may have developed a new method of simultaneously detecting viruses from three different families that cause diseases of the central nervous system in humans. Their findings appear in the August 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Viruses afflicting the central nervous system are mostly caused by herpesviruses, enteroviruses, and flaviviruses. Human herpesvirus can lead to serious diseases such as encephalitis, myelitis, and meningitis. Eighty to ninety-two percent of aseptic meningitis cases are caused by human enteroviruses as well as several poliovirus serotypes. Tick-borne encephalitis and West Nile encephalitis are two of many viruses belonging to the flavivirus family.

In the study a new diagnostic tool that uses reactive primers to detect for each family of viruses followed by DNA probe technology to differentiate between virus species within each family was tested. Researchers were able to accurately identify herpesviruses, specifically herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2, all serotypes of human enteroviruses and five flaviviruses including West Nile, Dengue, and Langat virus.

"This approach, which used highly conserved consensus primers for amplification and specific sequences for identification, would be extremely useful for the detection of variants and would probably help solve some unexplained cases of encephalitis," say the researchers.

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