Background and aims Acute respiratory tract infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in infants and young children. High-throughput, accurate, broad etiologic diagnosis tools were critical for effective epidemic control. In this study, the diagnostic capacities of an Ibis platform based on PCR/ESI-MS assay were evaluated on clinical samples.
Methods A total of 120 NPAs were collected from 120 children ( < 5 years old) hospitalised with lower respiratory infections between November 2010 and October 2011. The respiratory virus detection assay was performed with PCR/ESI-MS assay and DFA assay respectively. The all discordant PCR/ESI-MS and DFA results were resolved with RT-PCR plus sequencing.
Results The overall agreement for PCR/ESI-MS and DFA was 98.3% (118/120). Compared to the results from DFA, the sensitivity and specificity of the PCR/ESI-MS assay were 100% and 97.5%, respectively. The PCR/ESI-MS assay also detected more multi-viruses infection and demonstrated more detailed types information than DFA. Among the 12 original specimens with disagreement results between PCR/ESI-MS and DFA, 9 have confirmed PCR/ESI-MS results.
Conclusion This assay is a high-throughput, sensitive, specific and promising method to detect and subtype the conventional viruses for respiratory tract infections, and allowed rapid identification of mixed pathogens.