Use of an improved quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay to determine differences in human rhinovirus viral loads in different populations

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Dec;74(4):384-7. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2012.08.023. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


Human rhinoviruses (HRV) frequently cause acute respiratory infections and chronic respiratory disease exacerbations. However, testing is not generally offered. We developed a modified HRV quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay to assess viral loads in the community and hospital patients. The assay had a lower limit of detection of 2 log(10) viral copies/mL and displayed linearity over 5 log(10) viral copies, with a lower limit of quantitation of 4 log(10) viral copies/mL. Mean viral loads (95% confidence interval) for hospitalized children, university students, and institutionalized elderly, were 7.08 log(10) viral copies/mL (6.7-7.5), 6.87 log(10) viral copies/mL (6.5-7.2), and 7.09 log(10) viral copies/mL (6.9-7.3), respectively (P = 0.67). Serial specimens of 14 university students showed a decrease of mean viral loads from 6.36 log(10) viral copies/mL on day 1 to 2.32 log(10) viral copies/mL 7 days past symptom onset (P < 0.001). Using an HRV qPCR, we showed that viral loads did not differ between the community and hospitalized populations and significantly decreased following symptoms onset in healthy individuals.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Picornaviridae Infections / virology*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Rhinovirus / isolation & purification*
  • Viral Load / methods*
  • Young Adult