Detection and Differentiation of Human Parvovirus Variants by Commercial Quantitative Real-Time PCR Tests

J Clin Microbiol. 2004 May;42(5):2013-9. doi: 10.1128/jcm.42.5.2013-2019.2004.


Parvovirus B19 causes a variety of diseases in humans, with outcomes ranging from asymptomatic to severe, such as chronic anemia in immunocompromised patients or fetal hydrops and death after maternal infection during pregnancy. The virus may be transmitted via plasma-derived products. According to the results of solvent-detergent safety studies, an upper limit of B19 DNA in plasma pools was recently defined. To restrict the input of B19 virus into production pools, a quantitative nucleic acid test is a prerequisite. We examined the suitability of the two commercial quantitative B19 PCR tests, LightCycler-Parvovirus B19 quantification kit (Roche Diagnostics) and RealArt Parvo B19 LC PCR (Artus) for detection, quantification, and differentiation of the three known B19 genotypes, including the newly described erythrovirus variants (genotypes 2 and 3). The former kit was highly sensitive for genotype 1 but was not suitable for detection of genotype 2 or one of two genotype 3 strains. The latter kit detected and differentiated all three genotypes, albeit with lower sensitivity for one of the genotype-3 strains. We furthermore assessed the prevalence of the three B19 virus genotypes in blood donors, by screening pooled plasma samples derived from 140,160 Finnish blood-donor units. None of the pools contained detectable levels of B19 virus genotypes 2 or 3. The origin, mode of transmission, and clinical significance of these genotypes are unknown and deserve further study. The RealArt Parvo B19 LC PCR is suitable for detection, quantification, and differentiation of all three B19 virus genotypes in molecular and clinical research.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Donors
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Parvoviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Parvoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Parvoviridae Infections / virology
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / genetics*
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Plasmids / blood
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*


  • DNA, Viral