Background: Real-time multiplex PCR assays are increasingly used for respiratory virus detection, and offer automated analysis in a closed tube system, but they have the disadvantage of low-throughput due to multiplexing limitations. In this study, the established fast-track respiratory 21 assay (FTD) (fast-track diagnostics, Junglinster Luxembourg) was compared to the new Seegene Allplex assay (Seegene) (Seegene Inc. Seoul, Korea) which offers greater multiplexing as multiple targets can be detected in each fluorescence channel. The Seegene Allplex assay is quicker to perform than previous Seegene respiratory multiplex assays.
Materials and methods: The assays were evaluated using 199 mostly upper respiratory tract samples.
Results: A respiratory pathogen was found in 127/199 (63.8%) of samples by the FTD assay and 123/199 (61.8%) using the Seegene assay. Kappa agreement was between 0.87 and 1 for all targets except human bocavirus and adenovirus.
Conclusion: Although the performance of the assays were similar, the Seegene assay had the advantage of simultaneous detection of two gene targets for each of the common Influenza A subtypes, improved throughput of 30 samples per run and automated result analysis. The FTD assay could only test 17 samples per run but validation for use on several different real-time thermal cyclers made it easier to integrate into an existing laboratory system. Both assays were cost effective compared to in-house multiplex PCR respiratory virus screening.
Keywords: Respiratory viruses; multiplex PCR; real-time PCR.