METHODS: Study participants included 73 uncomplicated malaria patients with PCR species confirmation: 50 P. knowlesi, 20 P. falciparum and 3 P. vivax. Nineteen malaria-negative, non-endemic area controls were also included. The sensitivity of the Eiken Loopamp™ MALARIA Pan Detection kit (Pan LAMP) for detecting each Plasmodium species was evaluated. Sensitivity and specificity of the Eiken Loopamp™ MALARIA Pf Detection kit (Pf LAMP) for P. falciparum were also determined. The limit of detection for each LAMP assay was evaluated, with results compared to PCR. All P. knowlesi patients were also tested by CareStart™ (Pf/VOM) and OptiMAL-IT™ (Pan/Pf) RDTs.
RESULTS: The sensitivity of the Pan LAMP assay was 100% for P. knowlesi (95% CI 92.9-100), P. falciparum (95% CI 83.2-100), and P. vivax (95% CI 29.2-100). The Pf LAMP was 100% sensitive and specific for P. falciparum detection, with all P. knowlesi samples having a negative reaction. LAMP sensitivity was superior to both RDTs, with only 10 and 28% of P. knowlesi samples testing positive to CareStart™ and OptiMAL-IT™, respectively. Limit of detection using the Pan LAMP for both P. knowlesi and P. vivax was 2 parasites/μL, comparable to PCR. For P. falciparum both the Pan LAMP and Pf LAMP demonstrated a limit of detection of 20 parasites/μL.
CONCLUSIONS: The Eiken Loopamp™ MALARIA Pan Detection kit is sensitive for detection of P. knowlesi in low parasitaemia clinical infections, as well as P. falciparum and P. vivax. However, a P. knowlesi-specific field assay in a simpler format would assist correct species identification and initiation of optimal treatment for all malaria patients.
METHODS: Keratoconic (n = 74) and control subjects (n = 96) were recruited based on clinical diagnostic tests and selection criteria. DNA extracted from the blood samples was used to genotype VSX1 polymorphisms. In-house designed primers and optimization of PCR conditions were carried out to amplify exons 1 and 3 of the VSX1 gene. PCR conditions including percentage GC content, melting temperatures, and differences in melting temperatures of primers were evaluated to produce sensitive and specific DNA amplifications.
RESULTS: Genotyping was successfully carried out in 4 exons of the VSX1 gene. Primer annealing temperatures were observed to be crucial in enhancing PCR sensitivity and specificity. Annealing temperatures were carefully evaluated to produce increased specificity, yet not allowing sensitivity to be compromised. In addition, exon 1 of the VSX1 gene was amplified using 2 different sets of primers to produce 2 smaller amplified products with absence of non-specific bands. DNA amplification of exons 1 and 3 consistently showed single band products which were successfully sequenced to yield reproducible data.
CONCLUSIONS: The use of in-house designed primers and optimized PCR conditions allowed sensitive and specific DNA amplifications that produced distinct single bands. The in-house designed primers and DNA amplification protocols established in this study provide an addition to the current repertoire of primers for accurate molecular characterization of VSX1 gene polymorphisms in keratoconus research.