Limitations in the detection of cocirculating flaviviruses such as Dengue and Zika lead us to propose the use of aptameric capture of the viral RNA in combination with RT-PCR (APTA-RT-PCR). Aptamers were obtained via SELEX and next-generation sequencing, followed by colorimetric and fluorescent characterizations. An APTA-RT-PCR assay was developed, optimized, and tested against the viral RNAs in 108 serum samples. After selection, sequence APTAZC10 was designed as a bifunctional molecular beacon (APTAZC10-MB), exhibiting affinity for the viral targets. APTA-RT-PCR was able to detect Dengue and Zika RNA in 43% and 8% of samples, respectively. Our results indicate that APTAZC10-MB and APTA-RT-PCR will be useful to improve the detection of Dengue and Zika viruses in a fast molecular assay for the improvement of infectious disease surveillance.
Keywords: RT-PCR; diagnosis; flavivirus; hybridization; oligonucleotides.