Metagenomic shotgun sequencing (MSS) is a revolutionary approach to viral diagnostic testing that allows simultaneous detection of a broad range of viruses, detailed taxonomic assignment, and detection of mutations associated with antiviral drug resistance. To enhance sensitivity for virus detection, we previously developed ViroCap, a targeted sequence capture panel designed to enrich nucleic acid from a comprehensive set of eukaryotic viruses prior to sequencing. To demonstrate the utility of MSS with targeted sequence capture for detecting clinically important viruses and characterizing clinically important viral features, we used ViroCap to analyze clinical samples from a diagnostic virology laboratory containing a broad range of medically relevant viruses. From 26 samples, MSS with ViroCap detected all of the expected viruses and 30 additional viruses. Comparing sequencing after capture enrichment with standard MSS, we detected 13 viruses only with capture enrichment and observed a consistent increase in the number and percentage of viral sequence reads as well as the breadth and depth of coverage of the viral genomes. Compared with clinical testing, MSS enhanced taxonomic assignment for 15 viruses, and codons associated with antiviral drug resistance in influenza A virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) could be analyzed. Overall, in clinical samples, MSS with targeted sequence capture provides enhanced virus detection and information of clinical and epidemiologic relevance compared with clinical testing and MSS without targeted sequence capture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01123-18
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Diagnostic testing
  • Sequencing
  • Targeted sequence capture
  • Virology


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