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  • Author: Elizabeta Janceska x
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Methods for Molecular Surveillance of Influenza Used in Macedonia


The aim: To present and compare different Nucleic Acid Testing assays used for laboratory diagnosis of influenza virus infection in our country.

Materials and methods: Respiratory samples used were nose and throat swabs. The RNA extraction was performed with a QIAamp viral RNA kit. During the season 2009–2010 the first 25 samples were tested with: conventional gel-based RT-PCR and CDC rtRT-PCR using published specific matrix and HA gene primers and probes for influenza virus typing and subtyping.

Results: Of 25 samples tested with conventional RT-PCR 7(28%) were positive for influenza A, but negative for A/H1seasonal and A/H3. Retested with rtRT-PCR 9(36%) were positive for influenza A, 8(32%) were positive for A/H1pdm and 1(4%) was A/H3. Two samples positive with rtRT-PCR for influenza A were negative with RT-PCR. The sensitivity of the RT-PCR in comparison with rtRT-PCR is 100% and the specificity is 88.89%. Positive predictive value for RT-PCR is 77.78%, and negative predictive value is 100%. RT-PCR is a four-step and rtRT-PCR a one-step procedure. The turn-around time of RT-PCR is 6 hours and for rtRT-PCR it is 2 hours.

Discussion and conclusion: For surveillance purposes nose and throat swabs are the more easy and practical to collect. It was proved that RT-PCR is too laborious, multi-step and time-consuming. The sensitivity of both assays is equal. The specificity of rtRT-PCR is higher. NAT assays for detection of influenza viruses have become an integral component of the surveillance programme in our country. They provide a fast, accurate and sensitive detection of influenza.

Open access
Clinical Investigations. Comparison of Directigen Flu A+B with Real Time PCR in the Diagnosis of Influenza / Сравнение Иммунохроматографического Метода (Directigen Flu A+B) И Теста RT-PCR При Инфекциях Гриппа


Early diagnosis and treatment of patients with influenza is the reason why physicians need rapid high-sensitivity influenza diagnostic tests that require no complex lab equipment and can be performed and interpreted within 15 min. The Aim of this study was to compare the rapid Directigen Flu A+B test with real time PCR for detection of influenza viruses in the Republic of Macedonia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One-hundred-eight respiratory samples (combined nose and throat swabs) were routinely collected for detection of influenza virus during influenza seasons. Forty-one patients were pediatric cases and 59 were adult. Their mean age was 23 years. The patients were allocated into 6 age groups: 0 - 4 yrs, 5 - 9 yrs, 10 - 14 yrs, 15 - 19 yrs, 20-64 yrs and > 65 yrs. Each sample was tested with Directigen Flu A+B and CDC real time PCR kit for detection and typisation/subtypisation of influenza according to the lab diagnostic protocol. RESULTS: Directigen Flu A+B identified influenza A virus in 20 (18.5%) samples and influenza B virus in two 2 (1.9%) samples. The high specificity (100%) and PPV of Directigen Flu A+B we found in our study shows that the positive results do not need to be confirmed. The overall sensitivity of Directigen Flu A+B is 35.1% for influenza A virus and 33.0% for influenza B virus. The sensitivity for influenza A is higher among children hospitalized (45.0%) and outpatients (40.0%) versus adults. CONCLUSION: Directigen Flu A+B has relatively low sensitivity for detection of influenza viruses in combined nose and throat swabs. Negative results must be confirmed.

Open access