BACKGROUND: Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) for malaria diagnosis at the point of care (POC) depends on the detection capacity of synthesized nucleic acids and the specificity of the amplification target. To improve malaria diagnosis, new colorimetric LAMP tests were developed using multicopy targets for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum detection.
METHODS: The cytochrome oxidase I (COX1) mitochondrial gene and the non-coding sequence Pvr47 for P. vivax, and the sub-telomeric sequence of erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (EMP1) and the non-coding sequence Pfr364 for P. falciparum were targeted to design new LAMP primers. The limit of detection (LOD) of each colorimetric LAMP was established and assessed with DNA extracted by mini spin column kit and the Boil & Spin method from 28 microscopy infections, 101 malaria submicroscopic infections detected by real-time PCR only, and 183 negatives infections by both microscopy and PCR.
RESULTS: The LODs for the colorimetric LAMPs were estimated between 2.4 to 3.7 parasites/µL of whole blood. For P. vivax detection, the colorimetric LAMP using the COX1 target showed a better performance than the Pvr47 target, whereas the Pfr364 target was the most specific for P. falciparum detection. All microscopic infections of P. vivax were detected by PvCOX1-LAMP using the mini spin column kit DNA extraction method and 81% (17/21) were detected using Boil & Spin sample preparation. Moreover, all microscopic infections of P. falciparum were detected by Pfr364-LAMP using both sample preparation methods. In total, PvCOX1-LAMP and Pfr364-LAMP detected 80.2% (81 samples) of the submicroscopic infections using the DNA extraction method by mini spin column kit, while 36.6% (37 samples) were detected using the Boil & Spin sample preparation method.
CONCLUSION: The colorimetric LAMPs with multicopy targets using the COX1 target for P. vivax and the Pfr364 for P. falciparum have a high potential to improve POC malaria diagnosis detecting a greater number of submicroscopic Plasmodium infections.