Comparison of ePlex respiratory pathogen panel with laboratory-developed real-time PCR assays for detection of respiratory pathogens

R. H.T. Nijhuis*, D. Guerendiain, E. C.J. Claas, K. E. Templeton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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Infections of the respiratory tract can be caused by a diversity of pathogens, both viral and bacterial. Rapid microbiological diagnosis ensures appropriate antimicrobial therapy as well as effective implementation of isolation precautions. The ePlex respiratory pathogen panel (RP panel) is a novel molecular biology-based assay, developed by GenMark Diagnostics, Inc. (Carlsbad, CA), to be performed within a single cartridge for the diagnosis of 25 respiratory pathogens (viral and bacterial). The objective of this study was to compare the performance of the RP panel with those of laboratory-developed real-time PCR assays, using a variety of previously collected clinical respiratory specimens. A total of 343 clinical specimens as well as 29 external quality assessment (EQA) specimens and 2 different Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus isolates have been assessed in this study. The RP panel showed an agreement of 97.4% with the real-time PCR assay regarding 464 pathogens found in the clinical specimens. All pathogens present in clinical samples and EQA samples with a threshold cycle (CT) value of <30 were detected correctly using the RP panel. The RP panel detected 17 additional pathogens, 7 of which could be confirmed by discrepant testing. In conclusion, this study shows excellent performance of the RP panel in comparison to real-time PCR assays for the detection of respiratory pathogens. The ePlex system provided a large amount of useful diagnostic data within a short time frame, with minimal hands-on time, and can therefore potentially be used for rapid diagnostic sample-to-answer testing, in either a laboratory or a decentralized setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1938-1945
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number6
Early online date23 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • Influenza
  • Point-of-care testing
  • Rapid diagnostics
  • Respiratory pathogens
  • Sample-to-answer


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