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A recombinase polymerase amplification assay for the diagnosis of atypical pneumonia

: Kersting, S.; Rausch, V.; Bier, F.F.; Nickisch-Rosenegk, M. von


Analytical biochemistry 550 (2018), pp.54-60
ISSN: 0003-2697
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZI ()

Pneumonia is one of the most common and potentially lethal infectious conditions worldwide. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the pathogen most frequently associated with bacterial community-acquired pneumonia, while Legionella pneumophila is the major cause for local outbreaks of legionellosis. Both pathogens can be difficult to diagnose since signs and symptoms are nonspecific and do not differ from other causes of pneumonia. Therefore, a rapid diagnosis within a clinically relevant time is essential for a fast onset of the proper treatment. Although methods based on polymerase chain reaction significantly improved the identification of pathogens, they are difficult to conduct and need specialized equipment. We describe a rapid and sensitive test using isothermal recombinase polymerase amplification and detection on a disposable test strip. This method does not require any special instrumentation and can be performed in less than 20 min. The analytical sensitivity in the multiplex assay amplifying specific regions of S. pneumoniae and L. pneumophila simultaneously was 10 CFUs of genomic DNA per reaction. In cross detection studies with closely related strains and other bacterial agents the specificity of the RPA was confirmed. The presented method is applicable for near patient and field testing with a rather simple routine and the possibility for a read out with the naked eye.