Lab Med Online.  2016 Jan;6(1):31-35. 10.3343/lmo.2016.6.1.31.

Evaluation of Real-time PCR Kits for Epstein-Barr Virus DNA Assays

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Health Insurance Corporation, Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is known to be the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis and EBV-related malignancies. In this study, we compared the results of three real-time PCR kits for EBV DNA assays.
A total of 300 whole blood samples submitted for quantitative EBV PCR between January 2013 and September 2014 at Severance Hospital were included. The samples were tested by using the Artus EBV RG PCR Kit (Qiagen, Germany), AccuPower EBV Quantitative PCR Kit (Bioneer, Korea), and Real-Q EBV Kit (BioSewoom, Korea). Samples with discordant results between the three kits were confirmed by direct sequencing.
The result concordance rate and kappa coefficient (K) were 86.3% and 0.69 for Artus-AccuPower, 93.3% and 0.85 for Artus-Real-Q, and 92.3% and 0.83 for AccuPower-Real-Q, respectively. The correlations between the three kits were found to be significant, with a correlation coefficient of r=0.854 for Artus-AccuPower, -0.802 for Artus-Real-Q, and -0.977 for AccuPower-Real-Q, respectively (P<0.0001). If the real-time PCR concordant results of 258 samples and the direct sequencing results of 42 real-time PCR discordant samples were assumed to be true, the sensitivity/specificity values were 0.921/0.976 for Artus, 0.902/0.965 for AccuPower, and 0.967/1.000 for Real-Q.
The three real-time PCR kits showed excellent sensitivities and specificities. All these kits would be acceptable for clinical and therapeutic management of EBV. However, some discordant results between the kits indicate the need for caution in clinical diagnosis and staging. Further implementation of standardized methodology would be needed for EBV DNA assays.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV); EBV DNA; Real-time PCR
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