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Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
IF: 2.156 5-Year IF: 2.255 SJR: 0.649 SNIP: 0.599 CiteScore™: 3

ISSN Print: 1045-4403
ISSN Online: 2162-6502

Critical Reviews™ in Eukaryotic Gene Expression

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevEukaryotGeneExpr.2013006974
pages 125-137

Detection of RNA Viruses: Current Technologies and Future Perspectives

Lakshmi N. Cella
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
Daniel Blackstock
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware
Marylynn A. Yates
Department of Environmental Microbiology, University of California, Riverside, California
Ashok Mulchandani
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Riverside, California
Wilfred Chen
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware


RNA viruses constitute one of the major classes of pathogenic organisms causing human diseases, with varying degrees of severity. This review summarizes the conventional and emerging technologies that are available for the detection of these organisms. Cell culture−based techniques for viral detection have been popular since their inception and continue to be the gold standard against which all other techniques. Over many years, these techniques have undergone some radical changes, reducing the total time needed for detection and improving sensitivity, although even with their reliability and improved features they are being slowly replaced by nucleic acid−based technologies. These molecular detection techniques have revolutionized the area of viral detection by their high sensitivity, selectivity, and short detection time. The majority of nucleic acid−based techniques depend on amplifying viral RNA; however, there are some newer emerging techniques that detect viral RNA in live cells using various configurations of florescent probes. In addition, nucleic acid−based technology has made it possible for multiviral detection with either multiplex polymerase chain reaction assays or microarrays. Every technique described in this review has its own unique abilities, making them indispensable for viral detection. However, we believe that nucleic acid−based technologies will find widespread use after being standardized, limiting other technologies to very specific uses.

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