Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assays for rapid identification of eastern and western strains of bluetongue virus in India

Bluetongue virus (BTV) infects all ruminants, including cattle, goats and camelids, causing bluetongue disease (BT) that is often severe in naïve deer and sheep. Reverse-transcription-loop-mediated-isothermal-amplification (RT-LAMP) assays were developed to detect eastern or western topotype of BTV strains circulating in India. Each assay uses four primers recognizing six distinct sequences of BTV genome-segment 1 (Seg-1).

The eastern (e)RT-LAMP and western (w)RT-LAMP assay detected BTV RNA in all positive isolates that were tested (n = 52, including Indian BTV−1, −2, −3, −5, −9, −10, −16, −21 −23, and −24 strains) with high specificity and efficiency. The analytical sensitivity of the RT-LAMP assays is comparable to real-time RT-PCR, but higher than conventional RT-PCR. The accelerated eRT-LAMP and wRT-LAMP assays generated detectable levels of amplified DNA, down to 0.216 fg of BTV RNA template or 108 fg of BTV RNA template within 60–90 min respectively. The assays gave negative results with RNA from foot-and-mouth-disease virus (FMDV), peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), or DNA from Capripox viruses and Orf virus (n = 10), all of which can cause clinical signs similar to BT. Both RT-LAMP assays did not show any cross-reaction among themselves. The assays are rapid, easy to perform, could be adapted as a ‘penside’ test making them suitable for ‘front-line’ diagnosis, helping to identify and contain field outbreaks of BTV.

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