Background: Influenza virus infections are a major cause of morbidity and the identification of the type or subtype of a clinical isolate has important clinical and epidemiological implications.
Objectives: To evaluate the ability of a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay to type and subtype clinical human isolates of influenza virus.
Study design: Reference strains of influenza A H1N1, A/H3N2, and B viruses and human clinical isolates of influenza virus representing antigenic variants from the last 15 years were evaluated using an RT-PCR assay.
Results: Amplicons of 325, 198 and 365 base pairs in length were obtained from RNA extracted from influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B viruses, respectively. All human-derived A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B reference strains and antigenic variants tested were correctly identified.
Conclusions: RT-PCR is an effective alternative to traditional methods for typing and subtyping influenza viruses.