Field evaluation of a Pan-Lassa rapid diagnostic test during the 2018 Nigerian Lassa fever outbreak

Sci Rep. 2020 May 26;10(1):8724. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-65736-0.


Lassa virus (LASV) is the causative agent of Lassa fever (LF), an often-fatal hemorrhagic disease. LF is endemic in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and other West African countries. Diagnosis of LASV infection is challenged by the genetic diversity of the virus, which is greatest in Nigeria. The ReLASV Pan-Lassa Antigen Rapid Test (Pan-Lassa RDT) is a point-of-care, in vitro diagnostic test that utilizes a mixture of polyclonal antibodies raised against recombinant nucleoproteins of representative strains from the three most prevalent LASV lineages (II, III and IV). We compared the performance of the Pan-LASV RDT to available quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays during the 2018 LF outbreak in Nigeria. For patients with acute LF (RDT positive, IgG/IgM negative) during initial screening, RDT performance was 83.3% sensitivity and 92.8% specificity when compared to composite results of two qPCR assays. 100% of samples that gave Ct values below 22 on both qPCR assays were positive on the Pan-Lassa RDT. There were significantly elevated case fatality rates and elevated liver transaminase levels in subjects whose samples were RDT positive compared to RDT negative.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / metabolism*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lassa Fever / diagnosis*
  • Lassa virus / genetics
  • Lassa virus / immunology
  • Lassa virus / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • RNA, Viral