In immunosuppressed patients, pre-emptive therapy and a strict follow-up of CMV infection are the standard of care for the prevention of CMV disease. Several real-time PCR assays for CMV DNA quantification on whole blood (WB) and plasma (PL) are commercially available. This study compared and correlated CMV viral loads obtained by the Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan (CAP/CTM) platform on plasma specimens with those obtained on corresponding whole blood specimens by the real-time PCR assay (ELITe MGB-CMV) in 185 sequential samples from 41 immunosuppressed patients. Correlation between the two assays was good. Kinetics of CMV DNA within the same patient was similar, but PL viral load was constantly 1 log lower than WB. In patients under antiviral therapy, low level of CMV DNA persisted in WB, while it was absent in PL. The good correlation between CMV DNA detected on both PL and WB supports the reliability of the two matrices for viral monitoring and the therapeutic management of CMV infection. Nevertheless, due to significant quantification differences between PL and WB CMV DNA, the same biological specimen should be used for a sequential and reliable follow-up of patients at high risk of CMV infection.
Comparison of two molecular assays for detection of cytomegalovirus DNA in whole blood and plasma samples from transplant recipients.