One-step RT-PCR for detection of Zika virus

J Clin Virol. 2008 Sep;43(1):96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 Jul 31.


Background: Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus circulating in Asia and Africa. Human infection induces an influenza-like syndrome that is associated with retro-orbital pain, oedema, lymphadenopathy, or diarrhea. Diagnosis of Zika fever requires virus isolation and serology, which are time consuming or cross-reactive.

Objective: To develop a one-step RT-PCR assay to detect ZIKV in human serum.

Study design: An assay targeting the envelope protein coding region was designed and evaluated for its specificity, detection limit, repeatability, and capacity to detect ZIKV isolates collected over a 40-year period from various African countries and hosts.

Results: The assay's detection limit and repeatability were respectively 7.7pfu/reaction and 100% in serum and L-15 medium; none of 19 other flaviviruses tested were detected.

Conclusions: The assay is rapid, sensitive, and specific to detect ZIKV in cell culture or serum, but needs to be validated for diagnosis using clinical samples.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Variation
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics*
  • Zika Virus / genetics
  • Zika Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Zika Virus Infection / diagnosis*


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Envelope Proteins