Testing for cytomegalovirus-, Epstein-Barr virus-, and BK virus-specific gene targets in specimens from solid-organ transplant recipients for DNA by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction has been implemented in many diagnostic facilities. This technology provides rapid, accurate, and reproducible results for early detection, monitoring, and medical management of patients with these infections. Because these assays are becoming commonly used in clinical practice, the technical variables associated with specimen processing (e.g., nucleic acid extraction, gene target, and result reporting), amplification, and unique patient characteristics (e.g., age, sex, underlying diseases, immune status, and immunosuppressive regimens received) are factors that may influence the understanding and interpretation of test results. We emphasize the need for standardization of existing variables through parallel comparative and proficiency testing, uniform units for expressing results, to provide for clinical correlation with the results of these molecular assays.
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