Leukocyte preparations from children with documented evidence of MMR vaccination and confirmed diagnosis of autism were examined by several assays designed to target multiple regions of the measles virus genome sequence. No sample was found positive by any method. The assays applied were highly sensitive, specific and robust in nature, and were based on the amplification of measles virus RNA transcripts by real-time quantitative RT-PCR (QRT-PCR) as well as by conventional RT-PCR-nested PCR. The assays applied were potentially able to detect measles virus RNA down to single figure copy numbers per reaction. The amount of total nucleic acid extract of leukocytes subjected to various measles virus-specific investigations was several fold higher than minimally required of a sample where measles virus persistence is well documented. This study failed to substantiate reports of the persistence of measles virus in autistic children with development regression.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.