Article Text

Download PDFPDF
How to use…respiratory viral studies
  1. Simon B Drysdale1,2,
  2. Dominic F Kelly1,2
  1. 1 Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Level 2, Children’s Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simon B Drysdale, Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK; simon.drysdale{at}


Viral respiratory tract infections are the most common infections of childhood. They result in clinical syndromes ranging from mild upper respiratory tract infection to severe lower respiratory tract disease requiring intensive care. Respiratory viruses are most commonly identified from a respiratory swab or nasopharyngeal aspirate by real-time PCR, which has a very high sensitivity and specificity. In this article, we review when and how children should be tested for viral respiratory tract infections and how to interpret the result in context of the clinical picture.

  • infectious diseases
  • respiratory
  • virology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors The article was conceived by SBD and DFK. SBD wrote the initial draft. Both SBD and DFK revised the manuscript and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests DFK has received financial assistance from vaccine manufacturers to attend conferences and receives salary support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.