Polymerase chain reaction-enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA) is an immunodetection method that can quantify PCR product directly after immobilization of biotinylated DNA on a microplate. This method, which detects nucleic acid instead of protein, is a much more sensitive method compared to conventional PCR method, with shorter analytical time and lower detection limit. Its high specificity and sensitivity, together with its semiquantitative ability, give it a huge potential to serve as a powerful detection tool in various industries such as medical, veterinary, and agricultural industries. With the recent advances in PCR-ELISA, it is envisaged that the assay is more widely recognized for its fast and sensitive detection limit which could improve overall diagnostic time and quality.
Despite the importance of the cattle industry in Malaysia, there are very few studies of the diversity and public health significance of bovine cryptosporidiosis in this country. In the present study, we used a PCR-based approach to detect and genetically characterize Cryptosporidium DNA in faecal samples from a cohort of 215 asymptomatic cattle (of different ages) from six farms from five states of Peninsular Malaysia. Cattle on four of the six farms were test-positive for Cryptosporidium, with an overall prevalence of 3.2%. Cryptosporidium bovis and Cryptosporidium ryanae were detected in two (0.9%) and five (2.3%) samples tested; this low prevalence likely relates to the age of the cattle tested, as most (73%) of the samples tested originated from cattle that were ≥2 years of age. Future studies should investigate the zoonotic potential of Cryptosporidium in pre-weaned and weaned calves in rural communities of Malaysia.
Acinetobacter baumannii, genomic species 3 and 13TU are being increasingly reported as the most important Acinetobacter species that cause infections in hospitalized patients. These Acinetobacter species are grouped in the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus- Acinetobacter baumannii (Acb) complex. Differentiation of the species in the Acb-complex is limited by phenotypic methods. Therefore, in this study, amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) was applied to confirm the identity A. baumannii strains as well as to differentiate between the subspecies. One hundred and eighty-five strains from Intensive Care Unit, Universiti Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) were successfully identified as A. baumannii by ARDRA. Acinetobacter genomic species 13TU and 15TU were identified in 3 and 1 strains, respectively. ARDRA provides an accurate, rapid and definitive approach towards the identification of the species level in the genus Acinetobacter. This paper reports the first application ARDRA in genospecies identification of Acinetobacter in Malaysia.
A simple and reliable tool for the early diagnosis of leptospirosis is urgently needed. We report the development of a lyophilized reagent-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay targeting lipL32 gene, which is present only in pathogenic leptospires. To determine the effectiveness of the newly developed assay in the early diagnosis of leptospirosis, the sensitivity and specificity was evaluated. In simulated clinical samples, the assay was able to detect 10² and 10³ leptospires/ml in spiked urine and blood samples, respectively. In experimentally infected animals, leptospiral DNA could be detected in blood and lung samples as early as Day 1 post infection. This assay was also shown to be stable and remained sensitive for up to five months at ambient temperature. Hence, this lyophilized reagent-based PCR assay with high specificity, sensitivity and stability would provide a simple, rapid and reliable method in diagnosing acute leptospirosis, especially in the field of veterinary medicine.
The emergence of Plasmodium knowlesi in humans, which is in many cases misdiagnosed by microscopy as Plasmodium malariae due to the morphological similarity has contributed to the needs of detection and differentiation of malaria parasites. At present, nested PCR targeted on Plasmodium ssrRNA genes has been described as the most sensitive and specific method for Plasmodium detection. However, this method is costly and requires trained personnel for its implementation. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), a novel nucleic acid amplification method was developed for the clinical detection of P. knowlesi. The sensitivity and specificity of LAMP was evaluated in comparison to the results obtained via microscopic examination and nested PCR.
A real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was developed for detection and discrimination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (H37Rv and H37Ra) and M. bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) from mycobacterial other than tuberculosis (MOTT). It was based on the melting curve (Tm) analysis of the gyrB gene using SYBR(®) Green I detection dye and the LightCycler 1.5 system. The optimal conditions for the assay were 0.25 μmol/L of primers with 3.1 mmol/L of MgCl(2) and 45 cycles of amplification. For M. tuberculosis (H37Rv and H37Ra) and M. bovis BCG of the MTBC, we detected the crossing points (Cp) at cycles of 16.96 ± 0.07, 18.02 ± 0.14, and 18.62 ± 0.09, respectively, while the Tm values were 90.19 ± 0.06 °C, 90.27 ± 0.09 °C, and 89.81 ± 0.04 °C, respectively. The assay was sensitive and rapid with a detection limit of 10 pg of the DNA template within 35 min. In this study, the Tm analysis of the qPCR assay was applied for the detection and discrimination of MTBC from MOTT.
Amebiasis caused by Entamoeba histolytica is the third leading cause of death worldwide. This pathogenic amoeba is morphologically indistinguishable from E. dispar and E. moshkovskii, the non-pathogenic species. Polymerase chain reaction is the current method of choice approved by World Health Organization. Real-time PCR is another attractive molecular method for diagnosis of infectious diseases as post-PCR analyses are eliminated and turnaround times are shorter. The present work aimed to compare the results of Entamoeba species identification using the real-time assay against the established nested PCR method.
Shigellosis is a foodborne illness caused by the genus Shigella and is an important global health issue. The development of effective techniques for rapid detection of this pathogen is essential for breaking the chain of transmission. Therefore, we have developed a novel loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay targeting the invasion plasmid antigen H (ipaH) gene to rapidly detect Shigella species. This assay could be performed in 90 min at an optimal temperature of 64ºC, with endpoint results visualized directly. Notably, the method was found to be more sensitive than conventional PCR. Indeed, the detection limit for the LAMP assay on pure bacterial cultures was 5.9 x 10(5) CFU/ml, while PCR displayed a limit of 5.9 x 10(7) CFU/ml. In spiked lettuce samples, the sensitivity of the LAMP assay was 3.6 x 10(4) CFU/g, whereas PCR was 3.6 x 10(5) CFU/g. Overall, the assay accurately identified 32 Shigella spp. with one enteroinvasive Escherichia coli displaying positive reaction while the remaining 32 non-Shigella strains tested were negative.
The present study aims to develop a system which consists of four pairs of primers that specifically detects Salmonella spp., Salmonella serovar Typhi and Salmonella serovar Paratyphi A with an internal amplification control. The system, when applied in Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) under specific conditions, reaction mixture and cycling temperatures produced four bands; 784 bp, 496 bp, 332 bp and 187 bp. The DNA band 784 bp is present in all Salmonella spp., while the bands of 496 bp and 332 bp are only present in S. Paratyphi A and S. Typhi, respectively. An internal amplification control as indicated by the 187 bp shows the system is working in optimum condition in all the tests. This multiplex PCR was evaluated on 241 bacterial cultures and 691 naturally contaminated samples. Overall, this multiplex PCR detection system provides a single step for simultaneous detection of DNAs of Salmonella spp., S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A.
Molecular approaches have been investigated to overcome difficulties in identification and differentiation of Brucella spp. using conventional phenotypic methods. In this study, high-resolution melt (HRM) analysis was used for rapid identification and differentiation of members of Brucella genus. A total of 41 Brucella spp. isolates from human brucellosis were subjected to HRM analysis using 4 sets of primers, which identified 40 isolates as Brucella melitensis and 1 as Brucella canis. The technique utilized low DNA concentration and was highly reproducible. The assay is shown to be a useful diagnostic tool, which can rapidly differentiate Brucella up to species level.
Peritonitis still remains a serious complication with high rate of morbidity and mortality in patients on CAPD. Rapid and accurate identification of pathogens causing peritonitis in a CAPD patient is essential for early and optimal treatment. The aim of this study was to use 16S rRNA and ITS gene sequencing to identify common bacterial and fungal pathogens directly from the peritoneal fluid without culturing. Ninety one peritoneal fluids obtained from 91 different patients on CAPD suspected for peritonitis were investigated for etiological agents by 16S rRNA and ITS gene sequencing. Data obtained by molecular method was compared with the results obtained by culture method. Among the 45 patients confirmed for peritonitis based on international society of peritoneal dialysis (ISPD) guidelines, the etiological agents were identified in 37(82.2%) samples by culture method, while molecular method identified the etiological agents in 40(88.9%) samples. Despite the high potential application of the 16S rRNA and ITS gene sequencing in comparison to culture method to detect the vast majority of etiological agents directly from peritoneal fluids; it could not be used as a standalone test as it lacks sensitivity to identify some bacterial species due to high genetic similarity in some cases and inadequate database in Gene Bank. However, it could be used as a supplementary test to the culture method especially in the diagnosis of culture negative peritonitis.
An in-house loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) reaction was established and evaluated for sensitivity and specificity in detecting the presence of Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) isolates from Kelantan, Malaysia. Three sets of primers consisting of two outer and 4 inner were designed based on locus STBHUCCB_38510 of chaperone PapD of S. Typhi genes. The reaction was optimised using genomic DNA of S. Typhi ATCC7251 as the template. The products were visualised directly by colour changes of the reaction. Positive results were indicated by green fluorescence and negative by orange colour. The test was further evaluated for specificity, sensitivity and application on field samples. The results were compared with those obtained by gold standard culture method and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). This method was highly specific and -10 times more sensitive in detecting S. Typhi compared to the optimised conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.
Battling malaria will be a persistent struggle without the proper means to diagnose the parasitic infection. However, the inherent limitations of microscopy, the conventional method of diagnosing malaria, affect the accuracy of diagnosis. The present study aimed to compare the accuracy of two different set of primers targeting the small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssRNA) and the dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase linker region (dhfr-ts) in detecting species specific malaria infections by nested PCR. The sensitivity and specificity of nested PCR assay using the two primers were calculated with reference to microscopy as the 'gold standard'. The results show that 18S rRNA primers had 91.9% sensitivity and 100% specificity in detecting human Plasmodium species as opposed to dhfr-ts primers which had 51.4% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The higher sensitivity of 18S rRNA primers suggests that it may be a better diagnostic tool for detecting human malaria.
Timely and accurate dengue diagnosis is important for differential diagnosis and immediate implementation of appropriate disease control measures. In this study, we compared the usefulness and applicability of NS1 RDT (NS1 Ag Strip) and qRT-PCR tests in complementing the IgM ELISA for dengue diagnosis on single serum specimen (n = 375). The NS1 Ag Strip and qRT-PCR showed a fair concordance (κ = 0.207, p = 0.001). While the NS1 Ag Strip showed higher positivity than qRT-PCR for acute (97.8% vs. 84.8%) and post-acute samples (94.8% vs. 71.8%) of primary infection, qRT-PCR showed higher positivity for acute (58.1% vs. 48.4%) and post-acute (50.0% vs.41.4%) samples in secondary infection. IgM ELISA showed higher positivity in samples from secondary dengue (74.2-94.8%) than in those from primary dengue (21.7-64.1%). More primary dengue samples showed positive with combined NS1 Ag Strip/IgM ELISA (99.0% vs. 92.8%) whereas more secondary samples showed positive with combined qRT-PCR/IgM ELISA (99.4% vs. 96.2%). Combined NS1 Ag Strip/IgM ELISA is a suitable combination tests for timely and accurate dengue diagnosis on single serum specimen. If complemented with qRT-PCR, combined NS1 Ag Strip/IgM ELISA would improve detection of secondary dengue samples.
Beta-thalassemia is the most common genetic disorder in Malaysia. Confirmation of the β-globin gene mutations involved in thalassemia is usually carried out by molecular analysis of DNA extracted from leukocytes in whole blood. Molecular analysis is generally carried out when affected children are around 1 - 2 years as clinical symptoms are expressed during this period. Blood taking at this age can be distressing for the child. High yield and pure DNA extracted from non-invasive sampling methods can serve as alternative samples in molecular studies for genetic diseases especially in pediatric cases.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is still a major cause of morbidity and mortality especially to children and compromised hosts, such as the old and those with underlying chronic diseases. Knowledge of pathogens causing CAP constitutes the basis for selection of antimicrobial treatment. Previous data have shown that etiological agents can be identified in only up to 50% of patients, but this figure can be improved by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This study was designed to evaluate multiplex real-time PCR as a method for rapid differential detection of five bacterial causes of CAP (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Burkholderia pseudomallei and atypical bacterial pathogens namely Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila) in CAP patients attending Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan (HTAA)/ Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. Two previously developed multiplex real-time PCR assays, duplex for the differential detection of S. pneumoniae and B. pseudomallei and triplex for the atypical bacterial pathogens, were used to detect a bacterial cause of CAP in blood and respiratory samples. Thus, 46 blood and 45 respiratory samples collected from 46 adult CAP patients admitted to HTAA were analysed by multiplex real-time PCR assays and conventional methods. The microbial etiology of CAP could be established for 39.1% (18/46) of CAP patients by conventional methods and this was increased to 65.2% (30/46) with the additional use of real-time PCR. The most frequently detected pathogens were S. pneumoniae (21.7% - all by PCR alone), Klebsiella pneumoniae (17.3%), B. pseudomallei (13% - 83% of them positive by PCR alone and 17% by both culture and PCR), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (6.5%), M. pneumoniae (6.5% - all by serology), C. pneumoniae (4.3% - all positive by both PCR and serology), L. pneumophila (2.1% - all by PCR alone), Escherichia coli (4.3%). Haemophilus infuenzae, Acinetobacter lwoffii and Acinetobacter baumannii were detected by conventional methods (2.1% for each).
Malaria remains one of the major killers of humankind and persists to threaten the lives of more than one-third of the world's population. Given that human malaria can now be caused by five species of Plasmodium, i.e., Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, and the recently included Plasmodium knowlesi, there is a critical need not only to augment global health efforts in malaria control but also, more importantly, to develop a rapid, accurate, species-sensitive/species-specific, and economically effective diagnostic method for malaria caused by these five species. Therefore, in the present study, a straightforward single-step hexaplex PCR system targeting five human Plasmodium 18S small-subunit rRNAs (ssu rRNAs) was designed, and the system successfully detected all five human malaria parasites. In addition, this system enables the differentiation of single infection as well as mixed infections up to the two-species level. This assay was validated with 50 randomly blinded test and 184 clinical samples suspected to indicate malaria. This hexaplex PCR system is not only an ideal alternative for routine malaria diagnosis in laboratories with conventional PCR machines but also adds value to diagnoses when there is a lack of an experienced microscopist or/and when the parasite morphology is confusing. Indeed, this system will definitely enhance the accuracy and accelerate the speed in the diagnosis of malaria, as well as improve the efficacy of malaria treatment and control, in addition to providing reliable data from epidemiological surveillance studies.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major pathogen responsible for significant numbers of nosocomial and community-acquired infections worldwide. Molecular diagnosis for MRSA nasal carriers is increasingly important for rapid detection and screening of MRSA colonization because the conventional methods are time consuming and labor intensive. However, conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests still require cold-chain storage as well as trained personnel, which makes them unsuitable for rapid high-throughput analysis. The aim of this study was to develop a thermostabilized PCR assay for MRSA in a ready-to-use form that requires no cold chain.
A quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) followed by high resolution melting (HRM) analysis was developed for the differentiation of Mycobacterium species. Rapid differentiation of Mycobacterium species is necessary for the effective diagnosis and management of tuberculosis. In this study, the 16S rRNA gene was tested as the target since this has been identified as a suitable target for the identification of mycobacteria species. During the temperature gradient and primer optimization process, the melting peak (Tm) analysis was determined at a concentration of 50 ng DNA template and 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 µM primer. The qPCR assay for the detection of other mycobacterial species was done at the Tm and primer concentration of 62 °C and 0.4 µM, respectively. The HRM analysis generated cluster patterns that were specific and sensitive to distinguished small sequence differences of the Mycobacterium species. This study suggests that the 16S rRNA-based real-time PCR followed by HRM analysis produced unique cluster patterns for species of Mycobacterium and could differentiate the closely related mycobacteria species.
A method for the rapid diagnosis of early dengue virus (DENV) infection is highly needed. Here, a prototype reverse transcription-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) assay was developed. The assay detected DENV RNA in <20 min without the need for thermocycling amplification. The assay enabled the detection of as few as 10 copies of DENV RNA. The designed RT-RPA primers and exo probe detected the DENV genome of at least 12 genotypes of DENV circulating globally without cross-reacting with other arboviruses. We assessed the diagnostic performance of the RT-RPA assay for the detection of DENV RNA in 203 serum samples of patients with clinically suspected dengue. The sera were simultaneously tested for DENV using a reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay, quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), and IgM- and IgG-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Acute DENV infection was confirmed in 130 samples and 61 of the samples (46.9%) were classified as viremic with qRT-PCR. The RT-RPA assay showed good concordance (κ of ≥0.723) with the RT-LAMP and qRT-PCR assays in detecting the dengue viremic samples. When used in combination with ELISA, both the RT-RPA and RT-LAMP assays increased the detection of acute DENV infection to ≥95.7% (≥45/47) in samples obtained within 5 days of illness. The results from the study suggest that the RT-RPA assay is the most rapid molecular diagnostic tool available for the detection of DENV. Hence, it is possible to use the RT-RPA assay in a laboratory to complement routine serology testing for dengue.