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Table 3 Diagnostic methods of CMV, advantages, and disadvantages

From: Cytomegalovirus infection in immunocompetent critically ill adults: literature review

Diagnostic method Advantages Disadvantages
Anti-CMV immunoglobulins Might be used for screening for latent CMV infection Low sensitivity and specificity for active infection
CMV PCR assays High sensitivity and specificity and considered gold standard, quick easy to perform, gives information of viral load, can be used for wide variety of samples Better to be performed on whole blood, qualitative might be so sensitive and detect “innocent viral shedding” quantitative might be superior
CMV antigen assays Quick and easy to perform, has comparable sensitivity and specificity to PCR Might be inferior to PCR in case of leukopenia
Viral culture Highly specific, can be performed on wide variety of samples Time-consuming, low sensitivity
Histopathology Highly specific, confirm CMV disease and pathogenicity and invasiveness Invasive, low sensitivity, liable to sampling error, needs skilled pathologist and so operator dependent