Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a ubiquitous virus with which infections have been associated with pathologies ranging from delayed bone marrow engraftment to a variety of neurological diseases. The lack of a standardized assay that can be used to detect and estimate HHV-6 DNA contents in various clinical specimens can lead and has led to discordant results among investigators and on the potential association of HHV-6 to diseases. To identify the most reliable and sensitive assays, an identical set of 11 coded serum samples spiked with various quantities of the HHV-6A variant (range, 4 to 400,000 genome copies/ml) was sent to eight independent laboratories around the world. Each laboratory was asked to estimate the HHV-6 DNA content by use of its own protocols and assays. Among the various assays, three TaqMan-based real-time PCR assays yielded quantities that were closest to the quantity of HHV-6 that had been spiked. To provide better homogeneity between the results from the different laboratories working on HHV-6, we propose that investigators interested in quantifying HHV-6 in clinical samples adopt one of these assays.
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