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Development of a droplet digital RT-PCR for the quantification of foot-and-mouth virus RNA

Pinheiro-de-Oliveira, Tatiana F., Fonseca, Antonio A., Camargos, Marcelo F., Laguardia-Nascimento, Mateus, de Oliveira, Anapolino M., Cottorello, Ana C.P., Goes-Neto, Aristoteles, Barbosa-Stancioli, Edel F.
Journal of virological methods 2018 v.259 pp. 129-134
Foot-and-mouth disease virus, RNA, RNA-directed DNA polymerase, cattle, detection limit, diagnostic techniques, droplets, epithelium, financial economics, foot-and-mouth disease, plasmids, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, serotypes
Foot-and-mouth-disease (FMD) is a highly contagious disease of domestic animals which can result in substantial economic losses, caused by the FMD virus (FMDV). The aim of this study was to develop and standardize a novel reverse transcriptase droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) assay for the quantification of FMDV RNA. This assay was based upon an OIE-recognized real-time RT-PCR that detects the 3D-encoding region of FMDV. The limit of detection at 101.4 TCID50/mL and 26.5 copies was determined using FMDV-A24-Cruzeiro-virus and a plasmid containing the 3D-FMDV sequences, respectively. FMDV O, A and C serotypes and 11 species of non-FMDV were used to confirm the sensitivity and specificity of the assay. The RT-ddPCR was standardized using 60 bovine samples (representing negative and positive samples of epithelium and/or oesophageal-pharyngeal [OP] fluid) from animals suspected of vesicular diseases and previously tested by RT-qPCR. The RT-ddPCR showed robustness, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy, with similar results to the RT-qPCR. Moreover, the new RT-ddPCR diagnostic tool allowed the absolute quantification of FMDV RNA from epithelium and OP-fluid samples, as well as having the advantages of direct quantification by endpoint, eliminating the need for a calibration standard curve required in quantitative real-time RT-PCR.