A method for the rapid diagnosis of early dengue virus (DENV) infection is highly needed. Here, a prototype reverse transcription-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) assay was developed. The assay detected DENV RNA in <20 min without the need for thermocycling amplification. The assay enabled the detection of as few as 10 copies of DENV RNA. The designed RT-RPA primers and exo probe detected the DENV genome of at least 12 genotypes of DENV circulating globally without cross-reacting with other arboviruses. We assessed the diagnostic performance of the RT-RPA assay for the detection of DENV RNA in 203 serum samples of patients with clinically suspected dengue. The sera were simultaneously tested for DENV using a reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay, quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), and IgM- and IgG-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Acute DENV infection was confirmed in 130 samples and 61 of the samples (46.9%) were classified as viremic with qRT-PCR. The RT-RPA assay showed good concordance (κ of ≥0.723) with the RT-LAMP and qRT-PCR assays in detecting the dengue viremic samples. When used in combination with ELISA, both the RT-RPA and RT-LAMP assays increased the detection of acute DENV infection to ≥95.7% (≥45/47) in samples obtained within 5 days of illness. The results from the study suggest that the RT-RPA assay is the most rapid molecular diagnostic tool available for the detection of DENV. Hence, it is possible to use the RT-RPA assay in a laboratory to complement routine serology testing for dengue.
Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.