Evaluation of rapid extraction and isothermal amplification techniques for the detection of Leishmania donovani DNA from skin lesions of suspected cases at the point of need in Sri Lanka
Gunaratna, Gayana ; Manamperi, Aresha ; Böhlken-Fascher, Susanne ; Wickremasinge, Renu ; Gunawardena, Kithsiri ; Yapa, Bandujith ; Pathirana, Nishantha ; Pathirana, Hasantha et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15759
Background Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by vector-borne protozoans. In Sri Lanka, the cutaneous form of the disease is predominant, which is usually diagnosed using Giemsa-stained slit skin smear examination and by histology. However, the sensitivity of slit skin smears and histology are reportedly low. Moreover, facilities for the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available only in a few highly-equipped parasitology laboratories. Therefore, there is a need for low cost, sensitive and specific screening tests for diagnosis of leishmaniasis at the point of need. Results In this study, a mobile suitcase laboratory applying novel extraction (SpeedXtract) and isothermal amplification and detection (recombinase polymerase amplification assay, RPA) methods were evaluated for the diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Sri Lanka. First, the developed assay was applied to three different sample types (punch biopsy, slit skin smears and fine needle aspirates) at a local hospital. The results showed that the 2 mm punch biopsy sample produced the best exponential amplification curve and early fluorescence signal in the RPA assay. Secondly, punch biopsies were collected from 150 suspected cutaneous leishmaniasis cases and screened with SpeedXtract/RPA, RNAlater/PCR and ATL buffer/PCR, in addition to Giemsa-stained slit skin smears. Fifty-seven samples were negative in all detection methods. In total 93 samples were positive with assay sensitivities of 65.5% (SpeedXtract/RPA), 63.4% (RNAlater/PCR) and 92.4% (ATL buffer/PCR). The Giemsa-stained slit skin smear delivered the worst clinical sensitivity (32.2%). Conclusions The SpeedXtract/RPA method under field conditions took 35 min, while almost 8 h were needed to finalize the extraction and detection by PCR in the laboratory. The SpeedXtract/RPA method produced similar sensitivity to samples preserved in RNAlater and subjected to PCR amplification, but both were less sensitive than ATL-preserved samples subjected to PCR amplification. There is a need for a standardization of sample collection and nucleic acid extraction methods.