Chikungunya fever is an arboviral disease caused by the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). The disease has similar clinical manifestations with other acute febrile illnesses which complicates differential diagnosis in low-resource settings. We aimed to develop a rapid test for CHIKV detection based on the nucleic acid lateral flow immunoassay technology. The system consists of a primer set that recognizes the E1 region of the CHIKV genome and test strips in an enclosed cassette which are used to detect amplicons labeled with FITC/biotin. Amplification of the viral genome was done using open-source PCR, a low-cost open-source thermal cycler. Assay performance was evaluated using a panel of RNA isolated from patients' blood with confirmed CHIKV (n = 8) and dengue virus (n = 20) infection. The open-source PCR-NALFIA platform had a limit of detection of 10 RNA copies/ml. The assay had a sensitivity and specificity of 100% (95% CI: 67.56% - 100%) and 100% (95% CI: 83.89% - 100%), respectively, compared to reference standards of any positive virus culture on C6/36 cell lines and/or qRT-PCR. Further evaluation of its performance using a larger sample size may provide important data to extend its usefulness, especially its utilization in the peripheral healthcare facilities with scarce resources and outbreak situations.
Keywords: Chikungunya fever; Indonesia; NALFIA; clinical validation; open-source PCR.