Are three generations of quantitative molecular methods sufficient in medical virology?

Massimo Clementi, Patrizia Bagnarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last two decades, development of quantitative molecular methods has characterized the evolution of clinical virology more than any other methodological advancement. Using these methods, a great deal of studies has addressed efficiently in vivo the role of viral load, viral replication activity, and viral transcriptional profiles as correlates of disease outcome and progression, and has highlighted the physio-pathology of important virus diseases of humans. Furthermore, these studies have contributed to a better understanding of virus-host interactions and have sharply revolutionized the research strategies in basic and medical virology. In addition and importantly from a medical point of view, quantitative methods have provided a rationale for the therapeutic intervention and therapy monitoring in medically important viral diseases. Despite the advances in technology and the development of three generations of molecular methods within the last two decades (competitive PCR, real-time PCR, and digital PCR), great challenges still remain for viral testing related not only to standardization, accuracy, and precision, but also to selection of the best molecular targets for clinical use and to the identification of thresholds for risk stratification and therapeutic decisions. Future research directions, novel methods and technical improvements could be important to address these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-441
Number of pages5
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Competitive PCR
  • Digital PCR
  • Quantitative methods
  • Real-time PCR
  • Viral load

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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