Dare RK, Chittaganpitch M, Erdman DD 2008. Screening Pneumonia Patients for Mimivirus. Emerg Infect Dis. 14:465-467.
Since the discovery of the Mimivirus, scientists have been trying to figure out what role the virus plays. So far, a high number of pneumonia cases have unknown causes. New PCR assay tests are developed to detect presence of Mimivirus, particularly on patients with pneumonia. In this study, scientists took a sample of 496 pneumonia specimens from 9 pneumonia-patient populations in Thailand and United States. These patients were screened for genes found in the Mimivirus. The genes were notably from L396, R596, L65, and R656. The real time PCR was used to identify these primers. Total nucleic acid was extracted from all specimens by using either an automated extractor or the automated BioRobot MDx. In the end, genes L396 and R596 from the Q-PCR results detected few 10 copies of plasmid DNA per reaction. Of all the 496 specimens taken, there were no indications of positives for the Mimivirus DNA.
This study suggests that the Mimivirus role with human pneumonia is still unknown. It doesn’t seem to target a human host for replication. This study is not recent (2008), but it does provide information on the Mimivirus and that it is mainly an amoeba parasite and does not have huge impact as a human pathogen.