Table 1

Detection of viral genome (qualitative): clinical applications

• Detection of viruses that cannot easily be cultured: for example, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, HIV, hepatitis C
• Where maximum sensitivity for viral detection is required: for example, ocular, amniotic, cerebrospinal fluid for presence of herpes simplex, varicella-zoster, JC virus, cytomegalovirus, and rubella virus
• Where antibody testing is inappropriate: for example, in a primary infection (before antibody seroconversion; where passively acquired antibody may complicate the diagnosis in babies born to HCV or HIV infected mothers or in immunosuppressed patients
• To exclude infectivity: for example of blood and blood products