Development, Evaluation, and Integration of a Quantitative Reverse-Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Diagnostic Test for Ebola Virus on a Molecular Diagnostics Platform

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Abstract

Background. The 2013–2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa resulted in accelerated development of rapid diagnostic tests for emergency outbreak preparedness. We describe the development and evaluation of the Idylla™ prototype Ebola virus test, a fully automated sample-to-result molecular diagnostic test for rapid detection of Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) and Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV).

Methods. The Idylla™ prototype Ebola virus test can simultaneously detect EBOV and SUDV in 200 µL of whole blood. The sample is directly added to a disposable cartridge containing all reagents for sample preparation, RNA extraction, and amplification by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis. The performance was evaluated with a variety of sample types, including synthetic constructs and whole blood samples from healthy volunteers spiked with viral RNA, inactivated virus, and infectious virus.

Results. The 95% limits of detection for EBOV and SUDV were 465 plaque-forming units (PFU)/mL (1010 copies/mL) and 324 PFU/mL (8204 copies/mL), respectively. In silico and in vitro analyses demonstrated 100% correct reactivity for EBOV and SUDV and no cross-reactivity with relevant pathogens. The diagnostic sensitivity was 97.4% (for EBOV) and 91.7% (for SUDV), the specificity was 100%, and the diagnostic accuracy was 95.9%.

Conclusions. The Idylla™ prototype Ebola virus test is a fast, safe, easy-to-use, and near-patient test that meets the performance criteria to detect EBOV in patients with suspected Ebola.

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