Moleculaire diagnostiek

The throughput of routine diagnostic samples processed with molecular methods has increased significantly since the introduction in our department of realtime (RT-)PCR in 1998 and semi-automated nucleic acid extraction in 1999. Virtually all viral targets ranging from HIV-1, HCV, HBV, herpesviruses, enteroviruses and respiratory viruses to less prevalent viruses like HIV-2 and hemorrhagic fever viruses like Ebola, Lassa and Dengue are now processed with semi-automated realtime technologies.

Research of the molecular diagnostic team focuses on two subjects.

  1. Optimizing routine diagnostic assays. Optimal performance of in-house developed tests requires continues up-dating of such tests. During the last five years virtually all (RT-)PCRs have been changed into realtime (RT-)PCR to prevent false positives due to contamination prone techniques like read-out on agarose gel and to optimize logistics of routine diagnostics. Additionally significant research effort is put into samples that are positive in culture but negative in molecular techniques.
  2. Relationship between fenotypic and genotypic resistance. The number of antiviral therapies has increased significantly over the last ten years. Knowledge of resistance to antivirals has become more important in the management of patients with treatable virus infections. For most treatable viruses except HIV-1 and HBV the relation between mutations found in genes targeted by antivirals and antiviral resistance is not well known. A significant amount of effort is therefore put into studying this relationship. Emphasis is mainly on studying the relation between fenotypic and genotypic resistance in HIV-2 and Influenza.

In addition molecular diagnostic services are provided to clinical studies on a large number of viruses like HBV, HCV, enteroviruses and respiratory viruses. These studies include amongst others:

  1. Studies into the antiviral activity of and resistance to new and old therapies against HBV and HCV.
  2. Pathogenesis and transmission routes of enteroviruses.
  3. Screening wild birds for Avian influenza.
  4. Studies into the effect of providing rapid molecular diagnostic results for respiratory viruses.

Influenza protocol PCR Erasmus MC