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Single test to detect all dengue serotypes

A scientist working in the biosafety cabinet at DRDE © DRDE

Researchers at the Defense Research and Development Establishment in Gwalior have developed a one-step test that can detect all four serotypes of the dengue virus1. The findings will make it easier for clinicians to diagnose more than one serotype attacking one individual during an outbreak of dengue.

The test, based on multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (M-RT-PCR), can be conducted in a single tube to check for the presence of all the four serotypes at one go. This eliminates the need for separate tests and would significantly cut down on the cost and the time to track the virus types in blood samples of acutely ill patients.

"It would be a boon from the clinical diagnosis and surveillance point of view," says one of the researchers P. V. L. Rao.

The team successfully tested the M-RT-PCR assay on sera samples of 620 acute phase dengue patients from recent epidemics in India. Their findings suggested the assay was a rapid and cost-effective method for simultaneous detection as well as typing of the dengue virus in endemic areas.

The team has also developed a one-step, single tube duplex PCR test for a differential diagnosis of dengue and chikungunya at the same time.



  1. Saxena, P. et al. Development and evaluation of one step single tube multiplex RT-PCR for rapid detection and typing of dengue viruses. Virol. J. 5 (2008) doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-5-20

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