Multicenter external quality assessment of molecular methods for detection of human Herpesvirus 6 ▿

P.J. de Pagter, R. Schuurman, N.M. de Vos, William MacKay, A.M. van Loon

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23 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of laboratories for the detection and quantification of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) by an external quality assessment (EQA) evaluation. The HHV-6 EQA panel consisted of eight samples containing various concentrations of HHV-6 type A (strain GS) or type B (strain Z29), two samples containing other herpesviruses (i.e., human cytomegalovirus [HCMV] and Epstein-Barr virus [EBV]), and two HHV-6-negative samples. Panel samples were prepared in human plasma, heat inactivated, and lyophilized. Panel distribution, data management, and analysis were coordinated by Quality Control for Molecular Diagnostics (QCMD), Glasgow, United Kingdom. Fifty-one laboratories participated and submitted 57 data sets. Eleven (19.3%) data sets were generated using conventional in-house assays, 11 (19.3%) data sets using commercial real-time PCR assays, and 35 (61.4%) data sets using in-house real-time PCR assays. The presence of HHV-6 DNA at viral loads exceeding 6,000 copies/ml was detected by all participants, and over 80% of the participants still reported correct qualitative results for the sample containing just over 200 copies/ml. The false-positivity rate was 1.8% for both the negative samples and the samples containing HCMV or EBV DNA. The majority (23/33; 69.7%) of quantitative data sets were generated using in-house real-time PCR assays. The standard deviations of the geometric means of the samples ranged from 0.5 to 0.7 log10. The results of this first international EQA demonstrate encouraging analytical sensitivity for the detection of HHV-6-DNA in human plasma, although we observed extensive interlaboratory variation of quantitative HHV-6 DNA results. Standardization needs to be improved to allow further elucidation of the clinical significance of HHV-6 loads.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2536-2540
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


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