Journal article Open Access

Development and evaluation of a fluorogenic 5′-nuclease assay to identify Marburg virus

Gibb, T. R.; Norwood Jr, D. A.; Woollen, N.; Henchal, E. A.

The ability to rapidly recognize Marburg virus infections is critical to quickly institute proper barrier nursing precautions and limit further spread of the disease. A rapid, sensitive, and specific laboratory diagnostic test is necessary to confirm outbreaks of Marburg virus and to distinguish it from other diseases that can present with similar clinical symptoms. A one-tube reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for the identification of Marburg virus was developed and evaluated using the ABI PRISM™ 7700 Sequence Detection System and TaqMan® chemistry. The sensitivity and specificity of the newly designed primer/probe set (MBGGP3) was evaluated. MBGGP3 was equivalent to or 10–100-fold more sensitive than previously designed primer sets as determined by limit of detection experiments. In addition, the MBGGP3 assay was able to detect all strains of Marburg virus tested, but gave negative results with other haemorrhagic fever and genetically related viruses. The results of this study indicate that the MBGGP3 primer/probe set is both sensitive and specific. In addition, this assay is compatible with emerging rapid nucleic acid analysis platforms and therefore may prove to be a useful diagnostic tool for the control and management of future outbreaks.
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