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N Z Med J ; 135(1559): 53-58, 2022 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2147482


AIM: To compare detection of SARS-CoV-2 from paired nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and saliva using molecular methods in common use for testing swabs in New Zealand. METHOD: Samples from individuals testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin were tested at the local laboratories using methods previously established for these sample types. RESULTS: One hundred and ninety-six paired samples from unique individuals were tested, with 46 (23%) positive from either sample type, of which 43/46 (93%) tested positive from NPS, and 42/46 (91%) from saliva, indicating no significant difference in performance between sample types (p=0.69). The average Δ Ct between saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs overall across the sample set was 0.22 cycles, indicating excellent concordance; however, the difference between NPS and saliva collected from the same individual was quite variable with up to 19 cycles difference between the sample types. CONCLUSION: We found that saliva is an equivalent sample type to nasopharyngeal swab for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in our laboratories using multiple assay combinations and is suitable for use as a diagnostic and surveillance test for selected groups of individuals.

COVID-19 , Nucleic Acids , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Humans , Nasopharynx , New Zealand , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva , Specimen Handling/methods
J Clin Virol ; 159: 105355, 2023 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2159230


BACKGROUND: In 2019, Aotearoa New Zealand (NZ) experienced its worst measles outbreak since 1997. Due to declining childhood vaccination rates since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, NZ is at serious risk of another major measles outbreak. Our laboratory provides diagnostic services to NZ's Southern region. In 2019 the Southern region experienced the greatest number of cases outside of Auckland and Northland, however we did not have a validated measles PCR assay in our laboratory. OBJECTIVES: We sought to develop reverse transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays for measles on the Hologic Panther Fusion® System by utilising its open access function. STUDY DESIGN: Previously published real-time RT-PCR assays were modified and optimised to detect wild-type measles virus (LDT-Mea), and the vaccine strain of measles virus (LDT-MeaVacA), on the Hologic Panther Fusion® System. The assays were clinically validated. RESULTS: The LDT-Mea assay has a limit of detection (LoD) of 0.1 CCID50, while the LDT-MeaVacA assay is less sensitive with a LoD of 1 CCID50. Using 27 samples, the clinical sensitivity and specificity was 100% for both assays. Other common respiratory viruses were found not to cross-react with either the LDT-Mea or LDT-MeaVacA assays. CONCLUSION: We have successfully adapted and validated for diagnostic use on the Hologic Panther Fusion® System previously published assays to detect wild-type and vaccine strains of the measles virus. The implementation of measles testing on this system will greatly improve the turn-around time for measles testing, and better support the measles public health response, for our region.

COVID-19 , Measles , Humans , Measles virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Measles/diagnosis , Measles/epidemiology , Sensitivity and Specificity , COVID-19 Testing