Development and validation of a one-step reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) for rapid detection of ZIKV in patient samples from Brazil

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We have previously developed and validated a one-step assay based on reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) for rapid detection of the Zika virus (ZIKV) from mosquito samples. Patient diagnosis of ZIKV is currently carried out in centralized laboratories using the reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), which, while the gold standard molecular method, has several drawbacks for use in remote and low-resource settings, such as high cost and the need of specialized equipment. Point-of-care (POC) diagnostic platforms have the potential to overcome these limitations, especially in low-resource countries where ZIKV is endemic. With this in mind, here we optimized and validated our RT-LAMP assay for rapid detection of ZIKV from patient samples. We found that the assay detected ZIKV from diverse sample types (serum, urine, saliva, and semen) in as little as 20 min, without RNA extraction. The RT-LAMP assay was highly specific and up to 100 times more sensitive than RT-qPCR. We then validated the assay using 100 patient serum samples collected from suspected cases of arbovirus infection in the state of Pernambuco, which was at the epicenter of the last Zika epidemic. Analysis of the results, in comparison to RT-qPCR, found that the ZIKV RT-LAMP assay provided sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 93.75%, and an overall accuracy of 95.00%. Taken together, the RT-LAMP assay provides a straightforward and inexpensive alternative for the diagnosis of ZIKV from patients and has the potential to increase diagnostic capacity in ZIKV-affected areas, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

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Scientific reports

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