Background: Molecular detection has been shown to be superior to tissue culture for the detection of enteroviruses in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens.
Objectives: In this study, a qualitative molecular assay based on automated RNA extraction with the MagNA Pure LC and real-time PCR on the LightCycler (LC) instrument was evaluated and compared with an in-house molecular assay.
Study design: A total of 109 CSF specimens were investigated for the comparative study. The detection limit of the new molecular assay was determined with 10-fold dilutions of two enterovirus strains and with the Third European Union Concerted Action Enterovirus Proficiency Panel.
Results: With the enterovirus strains, the detection limit of the LC assay was found to be 0.1 TCID(50) (50% tissue culture infective dose). When samples of the Third European Union Concerted Action Enterovirus Proficiency Panel were tested, both molecular assays gave identical results to the expected results, which were based upon the results of three reference laboratories using a total of four different molecular methods before distribution of the panel. When clinical specimens were tested, there was a correlation between the LC assay and the in-house assay in 105 of 109 cerebrospinal fluids.
Conclusions: The new molecular assay allows rapid detection of enterovirus RNA in CSF. It was found to be labor saving and showed sufficient sensitivity.