Rapid detection of European orthobunyaviruses by reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assays.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus (CCHFV) activity has been detected in Kordufan region of the Sudan in 2008 with high case-fatality rates in villages and rural hospitals in the region. Therefore, in the present study, a reverse transcription (RT) loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay was developed and compared to nested RT-PCR for rapid detection of CCHFV targeting the small (S) RNA segment. A set of RT-LAMP primers, designed from a highly conserved region of the S segment of the viral genome, was employed to identify all the Sudanese CCHFV strains. The sensitivity studies indicated that the RT-LAMP detected 10fg of CCHFV RNA as determined by naked eye turbidity read out, which is more likely the way it would be read in a resource-poor setting. This level of sensitivity is good enough to detect most acute cases. Using agarose gel electrophoresis, the RT-LAMP assay detected as little as 0.1fg of viral RNA (equivalent to 50 viral particle). There was 100% agreement between results of the RT-LAMP and the nested PCR when testing 10-fold serial dilution of CCHFV RNA. The specificity studies indicated that there was no cross-reactivity with other related hemorrhagic fever viruses circulating in Sudan including, Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), Dengue fever virus, and yellow fever virus. The RT-LAMP was performed under isothermal conditions at 63°C and no special apparatus was needed, which rendered the assay more economical and practical than real-time PCR in such developing countries, like Sudan. In addition, the RT-LAMP provides a valuable tool for rapid detection and differentiation of CCHFV during an outbreak of the disease in remote areas and in rural hospitals with resource-poor settings.