Detection and characterization of novel viruses is hampered frequently by the lack of properly stored materials. Especially for the retrospective identification of viruses responsible for past disease outbreaks, often only formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples are available. Although FFPE tissues can be used to detect known viral sequences, the application of FFPE tissues for detection of novel viruses is currently unclear. In the present study it was shown that sequence-independent amplification in combination with next-generation sequencing can be used to detect sequences of known and unknown viruses, although with relatively low sensitivity. These findings indicate that this technique could be useful for detecting novel viral sequences in FFPE tissues collected from humans and animals with disease of unknown origin, when other samples are not available. In addition, application of this method to FFPE tissues allows to correlate with the presence of histopathological changes in the corresponding tissue sections.

Formalin, Histopathology, Metagenomics, Virus discovery,
Journal of Virological Methods
Department of Virology

Bodewes, R, van Run, P.R.W.A, Schürch, A, Koopmans, M.P.G, D.V.M., Osterhaus, A.D.M.E, Baumgärtner, V, … Smits, S.L. (2015). Virus characterization and discovery in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Journal of Virological Methods, 214, 54–59. doi:10.1016/j.jviromet.2015.02.002