OUP user menu

Evaluation of the Prodesse Hexaplex Multiplex PCR Assay for Direct Detection of Seven Respiratory Viruses in Clinical Specimens

Musa Hindiyeh PhD, David R. Hillyard MD, Karen C. Carroll MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/F1R7-XD6T-RN09-1U6L 218-224 First published online: 1 August 2001


We evaluated the Hexaplex assay (Prodesse, Waukesha, WI) for the detection of 7 respiratory viruses (influenza A and B, parainfluenza 1-3, and respiratory syncytial virus [RSV] A and B). The Hexaplex assay was performed on 300 respiratory samples during the 1999-2000 respiratory virus season. Results of this assay were compared with shell vial cell culture and/or direct fluorescent antibody stain. The overall sensitivity and specificity of the assay were 96.6% and 94.1%, respectively. The respective sensitivity and specificity of the Hexaplex assay for detection of specific virus groups were as follows: influenza A, 98.6% and 97.8%; influenza B, 100% and 100%; and for parainfluenza viruses (1-3), 100% and 99.1%. The assay did not perform as well with patients infected with RSV: sensitivity and specificity were 91.0% and 98.6%, respectively. There are 2 major drawbacks to this assay: it is technically demanding (3-4 hours hands-on time), and it is expensive ($80-$90 direct cost). Nevertheless, because of the excellent sensitivity and specificity, the Hexaplex assay may be valuable in the diagnosis of respiratory viral infections in immunocompromised patients.

Key Words:
  • Multiplex PCR
  • Respiratory viruses
  • Influenza
  • Respiratory syncytial viruses
  • Human parainfluenza viruses