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Development and Evaluation of a Duo Zaire ebolavirus Real-Time RT-PCR Assay Targeting Two Regions within the Genome

Abstract : Preparedness and response actions to mitigate Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks rely on rapid diagnosis to be implemented locally to sort suspect patients attending health centers. Our aim was (i) to develop and evaluate an RT-qPCR assay combining primers and probes derived from two reference assays targeting different genomic regions; (ii) to study whether sensitivity and specificity of this dual-target assay were at least equal or better to the parental assays; (iii) to implement this dual-target assay onto the Cepheid GeneXpert open cartridge as a proof of principle for technological transfer aiming at bedsite testing locally. To do so, three home-made published RT-qPCR assays were selected to be compared with the RealStar® Filovirus Screen RT-PCR kit 1.0 (Altona Diagnostics, Hamburg, Germany), a technique that was largely deployed during the 2014-2015 West African EVD outbreak. Primers and probes sequences of the custom-made assays were analyzed in silico against a multiple sequence alignment, including >250 complete sequences corresponding to strains that have caused EVD epidemics in the past. Genomic RNA purified from the Mekambo strain of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) was used to study the sensitivity of the five methods. Based on these results, two in-house methods were selected and adapted to design the dual-target assay, which performances were compared to those of the parental assays using a synthetic RNA control. The dual-target assay showed better sensitivity and limit of detection (LoD95 at 0.4 copies/µL) than the parental methods (1.7 and 2.2 copies/µL). Ultimately, the dual-target assay was transferred onto the GeneXpert Flex-03 open cartridge, demonstrating a LoD95 at 0.75 copies/µL. Together these results indicate that EBOV dual-target assay has the potential to be used during EVD outbreak in the laboratory having performed molecular testing during the recent outbreaks.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 9:18:45 AM
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Laurence Thirion, Remi Charrel, Yannik Boehmann, Iban Corcostegui, Hervé Raoul, et al.. Development and Evaluation of a Duo Zaire ebolavirus Real-Time RT-PCR Assay Targeting Two Regions within the Genome. Microorganisms, MDPI, 2019, 7 (12), pp.652. ⟨10.3390/microorganisms7120652⟩. ⟨inserm-02417164⟩



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