Human polyomavirus BK (BKV) belongs to the Polyomaviridae family and is widespread in the population. The primary infection occurs during childhood and is usually asymptomatic. After the first infection, BKV remains latent in the cells of the urogenital tract and in other sites (ureter, brain, spleen, B lymphocytes) and may sporadically reactivate.

Reactivation has been documented in pregnant women (5-10%) and immunosuppressed patients.

In the case of kidney transplants in particular, reactivation of BKV during the first year after surgery can cause nephropathy (Polyomavirus-Associated Nephropathy, PVAN: incidence 1-10%) with a risk of loss of the transplanted organ. Haemorrhagic cystitis may occur in cases of bone marrow transplant. There are no antiviral therapies that can be used in the event of reactivation, so monitoring of the BKV viral load in the blood of transplant patients becomes fundamental. In the event of reactivation, clinical intervention involves the reduction of immunosuppressive therapy, which prevents damage to the transplanted organ.

Why use Real time PCR assay for BKV?

Investigation of BKV using Real time PCR enables close monitoring of a possible viral reactivation in transplant patients.