An international multicenter performance analysis of cytomegalovirus load tests

Hans H. Hirsch, Irmeli Lautenschlager, Benjamin A. Pinsky, Laura Cardeñoso, Shagufta Aslam, Bryan Cobb, Regis A. Vilchez, Alexandra Valsamakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Quantification of cytomegalovirus (CMV) load is central to the management of CMV infections in immunocompromised patients, but quantitative results currently differ significantly across methods and laboratories.Methods. The COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan CMV Test (CAP/CTM CMV test), developed using the first World Health Organization CMV standard in the calibration process, was compared to local assays used by 5 laboratories at transplant centers in the United States and Europe. Blinded plasma panels (n = 90) spiked with 2.18-6.7 log10 copies/mL and clinical plasma samples from immunocompromised patients (n = 660) were tested.Results. Observed mean panel member concentrations by site and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of the data combined across sites were narrower for CAP/CTM CMV test compared with local assays. The 95% CI in log10 copies/mL of the combined data per panel member for CAP/CTM CMV test vs comparator assays was. 17 vs 1.5 at 2.18 log10 copies/mL;. 14 vs. 52 at 2.74 log10 copies/mL;. 16 vs. 6 at 3.3 log10 copies/mL;. 2 vs 1.11 at 4.3 log10 copies/mL;. 21 vs 1.13 at 4.7 log10 copies/mL; and. 18 vs 1.4 at 6.7 log10 copies/mL. In clinical specimens, constant and variable quantification differences between the CAP/CTM CMV test and comparator assays were observed.Conclusions. High interlaboratory agreement and precision of CAP/CTM CMV test results across 5 different laboratories over 4 orders of magnitude suggest that this assay could be valuable in prospective studies identifying clinical viral load thresholds for CMV treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • CMV
  • PCR
  • standardization
  • transplantation
  • viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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