HSV molecular assay
Further extending the range of infectious disease diagnostic assays for use on the DiaSorin Liaison Iam analyser, the Iam HSV molecular assay provides rapid and reliable differential detection of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), vesicle swabs, plasma and whole blood, making it of enormous value in the diagnosis of herpes simplex encephalitis and potentially severe HSV infections in transplant patients and other immunocompromised individuals. Together with Iam VZV for the detection of clinically relevant subtypes of Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), these assays provide valuable information for the timely treatment of severe alpha-herpesvirus infections. HSV-1 is an important cause of fatal sporadic encephalitis, although HSV-2 is more commonly associated with herpes simplex encephalitis in neonates and immunosuppressed individuals. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to reduce and prevent neurological damage. In transplant patients and other immunocompromised hosts, HSV may cause severe infections, frequently disseminating to the visceral organs, and can be life or organ threatening. Nucleic acid tests are the method of choice for the diagnosis and characterization of HSV infection, following baseline serology, offering greater sensitivity than viral culture. Furthermore, molecular detection of HSV DNA in CSF is recommended for the diagnosis of herpes simplex encephalitis. The ability to differentiate between HSV types can provide important prognostic information, particularly in the diagnosis of genital herpes. Like HSV, VZV is the cause of significant morbidity and mortality in transplant patients and other immunocompromised individuals. Immunocompromised children, particularly those with leukemia, are reported to be at risk of visceral complications and even death folllowing VZV infection. Complications occur in about 20% of VZV infected immunocompromised patients and include interstitial or necrotizing pneumonia, viral hepatitis with acute liver failure, coagulopathies and bacterial superinfections. Offering excellent diagnostic sensitivity (>95% for Iam VZV and >98.5% for Iam HSV) and specificity (100% for Iam VZV and 100% for Iam HSV), and with faster time to results than conventional real-time PCR, the assays provide rapid and accurate molecular confirmation of alpha-herpesvirus infections. Furthermore, the small footprint, ease of use and scalable design of the benchtop Liaison Iam molecular instrument makes it ideal for use in laboratory facilities of all sizes, including those that are located close to the patient.