A rapid and sensitive culture test has been developed for detecting herpes simplex virus (HSV) in ocular infections. The virus is cultured by inoculation and centrifugation of cell monolayers grown on coverslips and the inclusions detected by an indirect immunofluorescence technique. This rapid test takes only two days to complete. By comparison, in our hands the conventional culture test, which depends on the development of cytopathic effect, took between 1 and 20 days with a mean of 4.7 days. Of the 1638 ocular clinical specimens inoculated in parallel by the two methods a total of 188 were positive for HSV. The virus was detected from 184 (97.8%) specimens by the rapid test and from 144 (76.6%) by the conventional test (McNemar's test, U = 5.76, p less than 0.001).
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