Acute respiratory tract infections are caused by a large number of viruses. Diagnostic methods have until recently been available only for a limited number of these viruses. With the objective to achieve sensitive assays for all respiratory viruses, a rational workflow in the laboratory, and a short turn-around time, a real-time PCR diagnostic platform for daily rapid detection of 15 respiratory viruses was developed. The system was evaluated on 585 stored nasopharyngeal aspirates from hospitalized children. Previous analysis by immunofluorescence and virus isolation identified viruses in 37% of the samples while the new PCR diagnostic panel detected 57% virus positive samples. The new platform was introduced in the laboratory in October 2007 and has then fully replaced the standard immunofluorescence assay for rapid detection of viruses and virus isolation.