The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


A simplified, amplicon-based method for whole genome sequencing of human respiratory syncytial viruses


  • Dong, Xiaomin
  • Deng, Yi-Mo
  • Aziz, Ammar
  • Whitney, Paul
  • Clark, Julia
  • Harris, Patrick
  • Bautista, Catherine
  • Costa, Anna-Maria
  • Waller, Gregory
  • Daley, Andrew J
  • Wieringa, Megan
  • Korman, Tony
  • Barr, Ian G.


Journal of Clinical Virology, Volume 161, 2023-04-30

Article Link: Click here

Background Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections pose a significant risk to human health worldwide, especially for young children. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) provides a useful tool for global surveillance to better understand the evolution and epidemiology of RSV and provide essential information that may impact on antibody treatments, antiviral drug sensitivity and vaccine effectiveness. Objectives Here we report the development of a rapid and simplified amplicon-based one-step multiplex reverseā€transcription polymerase chain reaction (mRT-PCR) for WGS of both human RSV-A and RSV-B viruses. Study design Two mRT-PCR reactions for each sample were designed to generate amplicons for RSV WGS. This new method was tested and evaluated by sequencing 206 RSV positive clinical samples collected in Australia in 2020 and 2021 with RSV Ct values between 10 and 32. Results In silico analysis and laboratory testing revealed that the primers used in the new method covered most of the currently circulating RSV-A and RSV-B. Amplicons generated were suitable for both Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) NGS platforms. A success rate of 83.5% with a full coverage for the genome of 98 RSV-A and 74 RSV-B was achieved from all clinical samples tested. Conclusions This assay is simple to set up, robust, easily scalable in sample preparation and relatively inexpensive, and as such, provides a valuable addition to existing NGS RSV WGS methods.