Rapid detection of peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) nucleic acid using a novel low-cost reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for future use in nascent PPR eradication programme

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a disease of small ruminants caused by peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), and is endemic in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Effective control combines the application of early warning systems, accurate laboratory diagnosis and reporting, animal movement restrictions, suitable vaccination and surveillance programs, and the coordination of all these measures by efficient veterinary services. Molecular assays, including conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) have improved the sensitivity and rapidity of diagnosing PPR. However, currently these assays are only performed within laboratory settings; therefore, the development of field diagnostics for PPR would improve the fast implementation of control policies, particularly when PPR has been targeted to be eradicated by 2030. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays are simple to use, rapid, and have sensitivity and specificity within the range of RT-qPCR; and can be performed in the field using disposable consumables and portable equipment. This study describes the development of a novel RT-LAMP assay for the detection of PPRV nucleic acid by targeting the N-protein gene. The RT-LAMP assay was evaluated using cell culture propagated PPRVs, field samples from clinically infected animals and samples from experimentally infected animals encompassing all four lineages (I-IV) of PPRV. The test displayed 100% concordance with RT-qPCR when considering an RT-qPCR cut-off value of CT >40. Further, the RT-LAMP assay was evaluated using experimental and outbreak samples without prior RNA extraction making it more time and cost-effective. This assay provides a solution for a pen-side, rapid and inexpensive PPR diagnostic for use in the field in nascent PPR eradication programme.

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