- A pooled sample of oropharyngeal swabs, nasopharyngeal swabs and nasopharyngeal washings, taken from each of 1,000 subjects, was compared to separate specimens from the same sampling. Multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (mqRT-PCR) was used to identify 12 respiratory viruses. Two hundred and forty-three (97%) of the 251 viruses identified in the separate samples were also identified in the mixed samples. The sensitivity rate was identical at 100% for all virus groups except coronaviruses. This sensitivity rate clearly justifies the use of pooled samples instead of separate samples for clinical and epidemiological purposes. The reduction in costs attained from the use of pooled samples may represent a critical advantage when considering its use in extensive clinical and epidemiological studies.