In this study, we developed a recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assay for specific diagnosis of Plasmodium knowlesi. Genomic DNA was extracted from whole blood samples using a commercial kit. With incubation at 37°C, the samples were successfully amplified within 20 minutes. The end product of RPA was further examined by loading onto agarose gel and a specific band was observed with a size of 128 bp. The RPA assay exhibited high sensitivity with limits of detection down to one copy of the plasmid. From the specificity experiments, it was demonstrated that all P. knowlesi samples (N = 45) were positive while other Plasmodium spp. (N = 42) and negative samples (N = 6) were negative. Therefore, the RPA assay is a highly promising approach with the potential to be used in resource-limited settings. This assay can be further optimized for bedside and on field application.
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