Lots of automated molecular methods for detecting cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA in the blood are available, but seldom for various clinical specimens. This study was designed to establish a highly sensitive automated assay to detect CMV DNA in non-blood specimens. We designed a new QMT assay using QIAGEN artus CMV RG polymerase chain reaction (Q-CMV PCR) kit applied on the BD MAX system and compared with the other assays, including an RGQ assay (LabTurbo auto-extraction combined Q-CMV PCR kit on Rotor-Gene-Q instrument), and in-house PCR assay. A total of 1067 various clinical samples, including 426 plasma, 293 respiratory tract specimens (RTS), 127 stool, 101 cerebral spinal fluid, 90 vitreous humours were analysed. Examining CMV DNA in simultaneous specimens of the same immunocompromised patient with respiratory symptoms, the detection rate of RTS (93.6%, 88/94) was significant higher than plasma (65.9%, 62/94). The positive rates for plasma samples with a low CMV viral load (<137 IU/mL) and diagnostic sensitivity of QMT, RGQ, and in-house assays were 65% and 99.1%, 45% and 100%, 5% and 65.5%, respectively. The QMT assay performs better, with shorter operational and turnaround time than the other assays, enabling the effective and early detection of CMV infection in various clinical specimens, particularly for RTS.
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