Respiratory infections continue to pose a significant threat to human health. It is important to detect respiratory viruses accurately and rapidly.
To compensate for the limits of current respiratory virus detection methods, we developed a 24-plex analysis (Common Respiratory Virus-Mass Spectrometry, CRV-MS) that can simultaneously detect and identify 21 common respiratory viruses based on a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry system.
To evaluate the efficacy of the CRV-MS method, we used 102 samples that were confirmed positive for these common respiratory viruses. All tests of the CRV-MS method were effective, with no cross-reactivity observed with other common respiratory viruses.
To confirm the usefulness of the CRV-MS method, we screened 336 nasal and throat swabs that were collected from adults or children with suspected viral acute respiratory tract infections using the CRV-MS method and consensus PCR/reverse transcription (RT)-PCR methods. Excluding four RNase P-negative samples, the CRV-MS and consensus PCR/RT-PCR methods detected respiratory viruses in 92.5% (307/332) and 89.5% (297/332) of the samples, respectively. The two methods yielded identical results for 306 (92.2%) samples, including negative results for 25 samples (7.5%) and positive results for 281 samples (84.6%). Differences between the two methods may reflect their different sensitivities. The CRV-MS method proved to be sensitive and robust, and it can be used in large-scale epidemiological studies of common respiratory virus infections.