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Visual detection of the human metapneumovirus using reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification with hydroxynaphthol blue dye

Xiang Wang1, Qian Zhang1, Fang Zhang1, Fenlian Ma1, Wenzhi Zheng1, Zhihui Zhao1, Yinglong Bai2* and Lishu Zheng1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Genetic Engineering, National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ying-Xin Road 100, Xuan Wu District, Beijing, 100052, Peoples Republic of China

2 Department of Children and Adolescent Health, China Medical University, North 2nd Road 92, Heping District, Shenyang, 110001, Peoples Republic of China

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:138  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-138

Published: 27 July 2012



Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is a major cause of acute respiratory infections ranging from wheezing to bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children worldwide. The objective of this study is to develop a visual reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for the detection of hMPV and applied to the clinical samples.


In this study, visual RT-LAMP assay for hMPV was performed in one step with the addition of hydroxynaphthol blue (HNB), and were used to detect respiratory samples. Six primers, including two outer primers (F3 and B3), two inner primers (FIP, BIP) and two loop primers (LF and LB), were designed for hMPV N gene by the online software. Moreover, the RT-LAMP assay showed good specificity and no cross-reactivity was observed with human rhinovirus (HRV), human respiratory syncytial Virus (RSV), or influenza virus A/PR/8/34 (H1N1). The detection limit of the RT-LAMP assay was approximately ten viral RNA copies, lower than that of traditional reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) 100 RNA copies. In the 176 nasopharyngeal samples, 23 (13.1%) were conformed as hMPV positive by RT-LAMP, but 18 (10.2%) positive by RT-PCR.


Compared with conventional RT-PCR, the visual hMPV RT-LAMP assay performed well in the aspect of detect time, sensitivity, specificity and visibility. It is anticipated that the RT-LAMP will be used for clinical tests in hospital or field testing during outbreaks and in emergency.

Human metapneumovirus; RT-LAMP; RT-PCR