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Dynamic quantification of avian influenza H7N9(A) virus in a human infection during clinical treatment using droplet digital PCR

Yan, Yong, Jia, Xiao-jun, Wang, Heng-hui, Fu, Xiao-fei, Ji, Ji-mei, He, Pei-yan, Chen, Li-xia, Luo, Jian-yong, Chen, Zhong-wen
Journal of virological methods 2016 v.234 pp. 22-27
Influenza A virus, avian influenza, droplets, human diseases, humans, markets, pathogenicity, patients, poultry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), therapeutics, viral load, viruses, China
This study involved a human infection with avian influenza H7N9(A) virus in Zhejiang province, the first one after implementing the closure measures of living poultry markets in China. The clinical symptoms, epidemiological and virological characteristics of the case were described briefly, and as the emphasis, H7N9 virus was detected quantitatively and continuously from the collected samples in 10 different periods of the patient’s treatment in order to reveal changes of viral load in patient’s body during the treatment. This study first used reverse-transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) assays to monitor viral load dynamically for human H7N9 infection, synchronously performing real-time RT-PCR as a reference technology to obtain more comprehensive data for comparison. Our results indicated that RT-ddPCR compared to real-time RT-PCR is more sensitive and accurate for quantifying H7N9 viral load without the use of standard curves. Furthermore it can provide reference data for clinical policies including infectivity judgement, ward transferring and therapy adjustment for the patient during treatment.