BACKGROUND: Human T-lymphotropic virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that is endemic in some regions of the world. It is known to cause several diseases like adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Serology and molecular methods have been used to detect this virus. Of these, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is used as a primary screening method and this is usually followed by western blotting (WB) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods as confirmatory tests. We conducted a systematic review of the different techniques used in the diagnosis of HTLV-1 infection.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Our search was limited to original papers in the English language from 2010 to 2018 using several databases including Pubmed, Scopus, Google Scholar, Iranmedex, and Scientific Information Database. A manual search of references provided in the included papers was also performed.
RESULTS: Of 101 electronically searched citations, 43 met the inclusion criteria. ELISA is commonly used for qualitative and screening detection, and WB and PCR techniques are used to confirm infection.
CONCLUSION: Among all the reported methods for detection of HTLV-1, only serological and molecular tests are used as the most common technical assays for HTLV-1. The ELISA assay, without a confirmatory test, has several limitations and affect the accuracy of the results. Owing to the prevalence of HTLV-1 and limitations of the current detection methods, further evaluation of the accuracy of these methods is needed. There are new opportunities for applying novel technological advances in microfluidics, biosensors, and lab-on-a-chip systems to perform HTLV-1 diagnostics.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.