Rapid, sensitive and effective diagnostic tools for foot-and-mouth disease virus in Africa

Contributor(s): Dr. Christopher Kasanga , Prof. Philemon Wambura , Prof. Mark Rweyemamu Wataru Yamazaki,Valerie Mioulet,Donald P. King, Misheck Mulumba, Ezekia Ranga, Jimis Deve, Cornelius Mundia, Patrick Chikungwa, Laureta Joao
Vol 81, No 2 (2014), 5 pages
Speed is paramount in the diagnosis of highly infectious diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), as well as for emerging diseases; however, simplicity is required if a test is to be deployed in the field. Recent developments in molecular biology have enabled the specific detection of FMD virus (FMDV) by reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), real-time  reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and sequencing. RT-LAMP enables amplification of the FMDV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 3D(pol) gene at 63 °C (in the presence of a primer mixture and both reverse transcriptase and Bst DNA polymerase) for 1 h, whilst RT-qPCR amplifies the same gene in approximately 2 h 30 min. In this study, we compared the sensitivity and effectiveness of RT-LAMP against RT-qPCR for the detection of the FMDV 3D(pol) gene in 179 oesophageal-pharyngeal scraping samples (collected by probang) obtained from clinically healthy cattle and buffalo in Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania in 2010. The FMDV detection rate was higher with RT-LAMP (30.2%; n = 54) than with RT-qPCR (17.3%; n = 31). All samples positive by RT-qPCR (Cq ≤ 32.0) were also positive for the RT-LAMP assay; and both assays proved to be highly specific for the FMDV target sequence. In addition, the VP1 sequences of 10 viruses isolated from positive samples corresponded to the respective FMDV serotypes and genotypes. Our findings indicate that the performance of RT-LAMP is superior to RT-qPCR. Accordingly, we consider this test to have great potential with regard to the specific detection and surveillance of infectious diseases of humans and animals in resource-compromised developing countries.
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