Acute respiratory tract infections frequently occur in children and represent one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Quick and accurate pathogen detection can lead to a more appropriate use of antimicrobial treatment as well as timely implementation of isolation precautions. In the last decade, several commercial assays have been developed for the simultaneous diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, which substantially vary in formulation and performance characteristics. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of the “AllplexTM Respiratory Panel Assays” (Seegene) with that of the automated “Fast Track Diagnostics Respiratory pathogens 21” assay (Siemens) for the diagnosis of pediatric respiratory viral infections. One hundred forty-five nasopharyngeal wash samples, collected at the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in Rome during the fall-winter 2017-2018 season, were processed and analyzed with both workflows. Our results suggest a high concordance between the two methods for positive and negative samples. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated with both tests as a reference method. For the AllplexTM Respiratory Panel Assays, they were 98% and 100%, respectively, and for the Fast Track Diagnostics Respiratory pathogens 21 assay, they were both 100%. This comparative study allowed us to highlight the characteristics of the two assays to evaluate the best solution, on the basis of diagnostic routine and laboratory workflows, keeping in mind local epidemiology.
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