52 Loop-mediated isothermal amplification PCR (LAMP) for the rapid identification of invasive meningococcal disease in the emergency department

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Despite successful vaccination programmes meningococcal disease (MD) remains the leading infectious cause of septicaemia and death in children in the UK and Ireland.1,2 The early diagnosis of MD significantly improves outcomes with reduced morbidity and mortality.1,2 The early stages of MD are often indistinguishable from a simple viral illness making an early positive diagnosis of MD difficult.1 Hibergene have developed a commercially available bedside Loop-mediated isothermal AMPlification PCR (LAMP-MD) test that is a highly sensitive 0.89 (95%CI 0.72–0.96) and specific 1.0 (95%CI 0.97–1.0) for identifying children with invasive MD (4) (figure 1).


The aims of this RCEM funded study were:


The LAMP-MD was assessed for practicality and ease of use within the ED including an assessment of training needs, footprint and health and safety requirements.


For verification of the Hibergene LAMP-MD analyser and assay we used dry nasopharyngeal swabs sent for viral screening. Additional verification was undertaken using N. meningitidis genomic DNA spiked over a range of concentrations. This included serotypes A, B, C, W, X and Y and a dilution series to determine the limit of detection. All samples were then analysed using real time TaqMan qPCR.


LAMP-MD is a practical, rapid point of care test that can reliably detect all Meningococcal serotypes in less than 15 min.


Funding has been secured to perform a PERUKI supported study to investigate the potential for LAMP-MD in the diagnosis of meningococcal disease in children.

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