In addition to tests for the group-specific hexon antigen of adenoviruses, adenoviruses can be detected in clinical specimens by hybridization assays utilizing the widely shared base sequences of the region of the hexon gene that codes for the group-reactive determinants. We have developed a liquid-phase hybridization system with biotin- and europium-labeled probes which are reacted after DNA amplification of a 161-bp region of the hexon gene and which are quantitated by time-resolved (TR) fluorometry in streptavidin-coated microtiter wells. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-TR fluorometry is not a rapid test in the usual sense, but it is highly useful for specimens with inherent toxicity or with low virus yield, such as organ minces and specimens obtained late in the course of an illness. In a survey of 103 specimens tested by this method, including urine, stool, and tissue suspensions, the agreement with the hexon-specific TR fluoroimmunoassay antigen test for positive specimens was 100% and the sensitivity compared with that of virus culture was 91%. The PCR-TR fluorometry system was also shown to be advantageous as a quantitative measure of PCR products
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