Which virus-specific lab studies are used for the diagnosis of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) pneumonia?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

RSV can be isolated via culture (HEp-2, HeLa, A549 cell lines), whereby nasopharyngeal washes or tracheal secretions are of higher yield than nasal swabs. For immunocompromised hosts, 15% of nasopharyngeal wash specimens are positive, compared with 71% of endotracheal secretions and 89% of bronchioalveolar washes.

Rapid detection by EIA has a sensitivity of 50-90% (higher in children but lower in adults), but specificity is high (90-95%). RT-PCR is also available, especially in combination with primers of other viruses (such as MRT-PCR).


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