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Use of chimeric influenza viruses as a novel internal control for diagnostic rRT-PCR assays
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Real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction rRT-PCR is now widely used to detect viral pathogens in various human specimens. The application of internal controls to validate the entire process of these assays is necessary to prevent false-negative results caused by unexpected inhibition or inefficient extraction. In the present study, we describe a strategy to produce a stable internal control for rRT-PCR by packaging foreign RNA into influenza virions using plasmid-based reverse genetics technology. The envelope structure of influenza virus can effectively protect RNA segments from RNase digestion, which provides an advantage for its routine use as an internal control. Moreover, the chimeric influenza virus particles could be easily produced in embryonated eggs and were noninfectious after inactivation treatment. Additionally, this strategy could also be adapted for real-time clinical applications of other RNA targets, providing a universal approach with broad clinical applications in rRT-PCR assays.