The current diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) relies on laboratory-based tests since its clinical features are nonspecific, unlike other respiratory pathogens. Therefore, the development of a rapid and simple method for on-site detection of SARS-CoV is crucial for the identification and prevention of future SARS outbreaks. In this study, a simple colorimetric and multiplex loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay was developed to rapid screening of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). It can be visually detected based on color change and monitored in real-time with fluorescent signals. The performance of this assay, based on six primers targeting open reading frame (ORF1b) and nucleocapsid (N) genes located in different regions of the SARS-CoV, was compared with real-time RT-PCR assay using various concentrations of target genes. The detection limit of the LAMP assay was comparable to that of real-time RT-PCR assay and therefore a few target RNA to 104-105 copies could be detected within a short period of time (20–25 min). In addition, we established a multiplex real-time LAMP assay to simultaneously detect two target regions within the SARS-CoV genome. Two target sequences were amplified by specific primers in the same reaction tube and revealed that it was able to detect down to 105 copies. The standard curve had a linear relationship with similar amplification efficiencies. The LAMP assay results in shorter “sample-to-answer” time than conventional PCR method. Therefore, it is suitable not only for diagnosis of clinical test, but also for surveillance of SARS virus in developing countries.
- Colorimetric detection
- Loop-mediated isothermal amplification
- Point-of-care test