Evaluation of a pan-Leishmania spliced-leader RNA detection method in human blood and experimentally infected Syrian golden hamsters

by Eberhardt E, Van den Kerkhof M, Bulté D, Mabille D, Van Bockstal L, Monnerat S, Alves F, Mbui J, Delputte P, Cos P, Hendrickx S, Maes L, Caljon G. The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 2018, 20(2): 253-263.

Summary: Several methods have been developed for the detection of Leishmania, mostly targeting the minicircle kinetoplast DNA (kDNA). A new RNA real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay was developed targeting the conserved and highly expressed spliced-leader (SL) mini-exon sequence. This study compared the limits of detection of various real-time PCR assays in hamsters infected with Leishmania infantum, in spiked human blood, and in clinical blood samples from visceral leishmaniasis patients. The authors conclude that the single SL-RNA qPCR assay enables universal Leishmania detection and represents a particularly useful addition to the widely used kDNA assay in clinical studies, in which the detection of viable parasites is essential for assessing parasitological cure.

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