Use of Malachite Green-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification for Detection of Plasmodium spp. Parasites
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Use of Malachite Green-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification for Detection of Plasmodium spp. Parasites

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    PLoS One
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    Malaria elimination efforts are hampered by the lack of sensitive tools to detect infections with low-level parasitemia, usually below the threshold of standard diagnostic methods, microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests. Isothermal nucleic acid amplification assays such as the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), are well suited for field use as they do not require thermal cyclers to run the test. However, the use of specialized equipment, as described by many groups, reduces the versatility of the LAMP technique as a simple tool for use in endemic countries. In this study, the use of the malachite green (MG) dye, as a visual endpoint readout, together with a simple mini heat block was evaluated for the detection of malaria parasites. The assay was performed for 1 hour at 63°C and the results scored by 3 independent human readers. The limit of detection of the assay was determined using well-quantified Plasmodium spp. infected reference samples and its utility in testing clinical samples was determined using 190 pre-treatment specimens submitted for reference diagnosis of imported malaria in the United States. Use of a simplified boil and spin methods of DNA extraction from whole blood and filter paper was also investigated. We demonstrate the accurate and sensitive detection of malaria parasites using this assay with a detection limit ranging between 1-8 parasites/μL, supporting its applicability for the detection of infections with low parasite burden. This assay is compatible with the use of a simple boil and spin sample preparation method from both whole blood and filter papers without a loss of sensitivity. The MG-LAMP assay described here has great potential to extend the reach of molecular tools to settings where they are needed.
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