In this study, a simple one-step reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for rapid detection of Lassa virus (LASV) was established. The two primer sets were designed to detect LASV circulating in Sierra Leone and northeastern Nigeria. The RT-LAMP assay using these primer sets was able to detect 100 copies of the in vitro transcribed artificial LASV RNA within 25 min. The assay was also evaluated using intact viral RNA extracted from cell culture-propagated viruses and confirmed to be highly specific for LASV. The RT-LAMP assay developed in this study is rapid, simple, and highly specific for the detection of LASV, although its sensitivity is slightly lower than that of real-time RT-PCR. In addition, because the RT-LAMP assay does not require the use of sophisticated equipment, it would be advantageous for clinical diagnosis of LASV infection in developing countries. It might also be employed in cases of deliberate release during bioterrorism attacks or in epidemiological surveillance for disease outbreaks.
© 2010 The Societies and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.