Application of molecular over immunological techniques in rapid diagnosis of viral infections

How to cite this article:
Ramana K V. Application of molecular over immunological techniques in rapid diagnosis of viral infections. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2008;1:33


How to cite this URL:
Ramana K V. Application of molecular over immunological techniques in rapid diagnosis of viral infections. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2008 [cited 2020 Aug 14];1:33. Available from:


Rapid diagnosis of viral diseases has assumed greater significance due to the emergence and re-emergence of several microbial diseases, thereby causing severe large-scale epidemics and pandemics. Majority of such epidemics are caused by arthropod borne viral infections constituting 90% of diseases. No approved vaccine is currently available for many viral diseases despite decades of efforts.

Since the conventional diagnostic methods are time consuming and are not very sensitive and specific, the development of rapid and sensitive diagnostic methods became crucial for responding to frequent outbreaks. [1] The recent advances in molecular biological techniques in the field of genomics and proteomics greatly facilitate the rapid identification of many viral infections. Today we have methods, which make it possible to detect and analyze any virus, which cannot be cultured. [2] Viral isolation is rarely used for the diagnosis because of technical difficulties and their time consuming nature. Demonstration of viral antigen and nucleic acids can be done by immunological and molecular techniques, respectively.

Considering the limitations of immunological methods, nucleic acid amplification methods such as nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA), self-sustained sequence replication (SSR), strand displacement amplification (SDA), and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can amplify target nucleic acid and routinely used in the diagnosis of viral infections. [3] Drawbacks of these methods are the difficulty in adapting them for routine clinical use especially in peripheral health care settings and private clinics.

These problems can be addressed by employing newer molecular techniques like the SYBR green 1-based real time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay which can both rapidly detect and type viral infections caused by Dengue, Japanese encephalitis, Chikungunya, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and the more recent Bird flu (H5N1). [4] These assays, which are extensively evaluated and validated, assist in rapid detection of any viral infection in future.



1. Chan AB, Fox JD. NASBA and other transcription-based amplification methods for research and diagnostic microbiology. Rev Med Microbiol 1999;10:185-96.
2. Parida MM, Santhosh SR, Dash PK, Tripathi NK, Saxena P, Ambuj S, et al. Development and evaluation of reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification assay for rapid and Real-time detection of Japanese encephalitis virus. J Clin Microbiol 2006;44:4172-8.
3. Parida MM, Horioke K, Ishida H, Dash PK, Saxena P, Jana AM, et al. Rapid detection and differentiation of dengue virus serotypes by real-time reverse transcription loop mediated isothermal amplification assay. J Clin Microbiol 2005;43:2895-903.
4. Mackay IM, Arden KE, Nitsche A. Real-time PCR in virology. Nucleic Acids Res 2002;30:1292-305.

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.43076

Clinical trial registration None

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