Point-of-care diagnostic assay for the detection of zika virus using the recombinase polymerase amplification method

Nadina I.Vasileva Wand*, Laura C. Bonney, Robert J. Watson, Victoria Graham, Roger Hewson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The sudden and explosive expansion of Zika virus (ZIKV) from the African continent through Oceania and culminating in the outbreak in South America has highlighted the importance of new rapid point-of-care diagnostic tools for the control and prevention of transmission. ZIKV infection has devastating consequences, such as neurological congenital malformations in infants born to infected mothers and Guillain–Barr_e syndrome in adults. Additionally, its potential for transmission through vector bites, as well as from person to person through blood transfusions and sexual contact, are important considerations for prompt diagnosis. Recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA), an isothermal method, was developed as an alternative field-applicable assay to PCR. Here we report the development of a novel ZIKV real-time reverse transcriptase RPA (RT-RPA) assay capable of detecting a range of different ZIKV strains from a variety of geographical locations. The ZIKV RT-RPA was shown to be highly sensitive, being capable of detecting as few as five copies of target nucleic acid per reaction, and suitable for use with a battery-operated portable device. The ZIKV RT-RPA demonstrated 100% specificity and 83% sensitivity in clinical samples. Furthermore, we determined that the ZIKV RT-RPA is a versatile assay that can be applied to crude samples, such as saliva and serum, and can be used as a vector surveillance tool on crude mosquito homogenates. Therefore, the developed ZIKV RT-RPA is a useful diagnostic tool that can be transferred to a resource-limited location, eliminating the need for a specialized and sophisticated laboratory environment and highly trained staff.

Original languageEnglish
Article number001083
Pages (from-to)1012-1026
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of General Virology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the PHE Pipeline Fund (ID: PLF1617).


  • Field-diagnostic
  • Isothermal
  • Molecular detection
  • Point-of-care
  • RPA
  • Recombinase polymerase amplification
  • Zika


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