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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Feb 14;12(2):e0006264. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006264. eCollection 2018 Feb.

Sensitive and less invasive confirmatory diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in Sudan using loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

Author information

Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum, Khartoum, Sudan.
Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics-FIND, Geneva, Switzerland.
Eiken Chemical Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.



Confirmatory diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), as well as diagnosis of relapses and test of cure, usually requires examination by microscopy of samples collected by invasive means, such as splenic, bone marrow or lymph node aspirates. This causes discomfort to patients, with risks of bleeding and iatrogenic infections, and requires technical expertise. Molecular tests have great potential for diagnosis of VL using peripheral blood, but require well-equipped facilities and trained personnel. More user-friendly, and field-amenable options are therefore needed. One method that could meet these requirements is loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) using the Loopamp Leishmania Detection Kit, which comes as dried down reagents that can be stored at room temperature, and allows simple visualization of results.


The Loopamp Leishmania Detection Kit (Eiken Chemical Co., Japan), was evaluated in the diagnosis of VL in Sudan. A total of 198 VL suspects were tested by microscopy of lymph node aspirates (the reference test), direct agglutination test-DAT (in house production) and rK28 antigen-based rapid diagnostic test (OnSite Leishmania rK39-Plus, CTK Biotech, USA). LAMP was performed on peripheral blood (whole blood and buffy coat) previously processed by: i) a direct boil and spin method, and ii) the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit (QIAgen). Ninety seven of the VL suspects were confirmed as cases by microscopy of lymph node aspirates. The sensitivity and specificity for each of the tests were: rK28 RDT 98.81% and 100%; DAT 88.10% and 78.22%; LAMP-boil and spin 97.65% and 99.01%; LAMP-QIAgen 100% and 99.01%.


Due to its simplicity and high sensitivity, rK28 RDT can be used first in the diagnostic algorithm for primary VL diagnosis, the excellent performance of LAMP using peripheral blood indicates that it can be also included in the algorithm for diagnosis of VL as a simple test when parasitological confirmatory diagnosis is required in settings that are lower than the reference laboratory, avoiding the need for invasive lymph node aspiration.

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