Multiplex PCR system for the rapid diagnosis of respiratory virus infection: systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2018 Oct;24(10):1055-1063. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2017.11.018. Epub 2017 Dec 5.


Objectives: To provide a summary of evidence for the diagnostic accuracies of three multiplex PCR systems (mPCRs)-BioFire FilmArray RP (FilmArray), Nanosphere Verigene RV+ test (Verigene RV+) and Hologic Gen-Probe Prodesse assays-on the detection of viral respiratory infections.

Methods: A comprehensive search up to 1 July 2017 was conducted on Medline and Embase for studies that utilized FilmArray, Verigene RV+ and Prodesse for diagnosis of viral respiratory infections. A summary of diagnostic accuracies for the following five viruses were calculated: influenza A virus (FluA), influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus and adenovirus. Hierarchical summary receiver operating curves were used for estimating the viral detection performance per assay.

Results: Twenty studies of 5510 patient samples were eligible for analysis. Multiplex PCRs demonstrated high diagnostic accuracy, with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) equal to or more than 0.98 for all the above viruses except for adenovirus (AUROC 0.89). FilmArray, Verigene RV+ and ProFlu+ (the only Prodesse assay with enough data) demonstrated a summary sensitivity for FluA of 0.911 (95% confidence interval, 0.848-0.949), 0.949 (95% confidence interval, 0.882-0.979) and 0.954 (95% confidence interval, 0.871-0.985), respectively. The three mPCRs were comparable in terms of detection of FluA.

Conclusions: Point estimates calculated from eligible studies showed that the three mPCRs (FilmArray, Verigene RV+ and ProFlu+) are highly accurate and may provide important diagnostic information for early identification of respiratory virus infections. In patients with low pretest probability for FluA, these three mPCRs can predict a low possibility of infection and may justify withholding empirical antiviral treatments.

Keywords: Multiplex PCR; Point-of-care test; Respiratory virus infection.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Viruses / genetics*