Establishment of Recombinase Polymerase Amplification assay for rapid and sensitive detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi in Southeast Asia.Acta Trop. 2020 Oct; 210:105541.AT
Scrub typhus, caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, is a common fever in parts of Southern and Southeast Asia. As delayed diagnosis of scrub typhus leads to inappropriate treatment and high mortality rates, of up to 70%, sensitive and rapid detection of O. tsutsugamushi is required for timely and appropriate treatment. Molecular assays, such as PCR and real-time PCR, have been shown to be more sensitive than conventional immunoassay, however, they are only available in centralized laboratories. In contrast to PCR assays, Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) is conducted under a constant temperature ranging from 24°C to 45°C. Therefore, this technology is very promising for nucleic acid testing in the field, and in resource-limited areas. An RPA assay for the detection of O. tsutsugamushi based on the target gene encoding for the 47 kDa outer membrane protein has been reported, but the primer and probe sequences of this assay are suboptimal for detection of the majority of recently published sequences of O. tsutsugamushi isolates from Southeast Asia. We have established a real-time RPA assay with primer and probe sequences that are optimized for most Southeast Asia's isolates of O. tsutsugamushi. As a result, the new RPA assay showed better performance than the previous assay in detecting O. tsutsugamushi in clinical samples of scrub typhus cases found in Vietnam. The specificity of RPA assay was also evaluated using genomic DNA from microorganisms commonly encountered in the differential diagnosis of scrub typhus, and blood samples from healthy controls and O. tsutsugamushi negative confirmed cases.