West Nile virus assay
Test in Focus
Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ updated West Nile virus test is a polymerase light chain assay that enables increased sensitivity to detect the potentially serious, mosquito-borne flavivirus infection. In this Test in Focus episode of the "Answers From the Lab" podcast, Bobbi Pritt, M.D., discusses how the test identifies West Nile virus RNA in whole blood, urine, cerebrospine fluid, and serum; detects virus presence much earlier than traditional approaches; and is able to detect lineages 1 and 2.
“There aren’t a lot of tests out there that are commercially available for both lineages,” Dr. Pritt says. “Now this is really important in a global society. Both lineages can cause potentially serious neuro-invasive disease. You don’t want to miss the viral infection because your test isn’t completely inclusive.”
Increasing testing sensitivity enables differentiation between West Nile and similar vector-borne infections.
“We know that there’s a lot of cross-reactivity between West Nile virus — the antibodies that the host forms to that virus — and other flaviviruses like Zika and Dengue virus, so a positive result doesn’t always mean it’s West Nile,” Dr. Pritt explains. “But then having that PCR result confirm that provides a positive diagnosis,” she says. Listen to learn more about how updated West Nile virus testing provides certainty in detecting the challenging virus.
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