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Kobialka, Rea Maja; Ceruti, Arianna; Bergmann, Michelle; Hartmann, Katrin; Truyen, Uwe and Abd El Wahed, Ahmed (2021): Molecular Detection of Feline Coronavirus Based on Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Assay. In: Pathogens, Vol. 10, No. 10, 1237

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Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is endemic in cat populations worldwide. Persistently, subclinically infected cats play a significant role in spreading the infection. Testing fecal samples of cats may facilitate efforts to decrease the viral burden within a population. Real-time RT-PCR is highly sensitive and specific for the detection of FCoV but must be performed in a fully equipped laboratory. A simple and accurate assay is needed to identify FCoV at the point-of-need. The aim of this study was to develop a rapid FCoV detection assay based on isothermal amplification technology, i.e., reverse transcription-recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA). Primers were designed to target the highly conserved 3 ' untranslated region of the 7b gene. Running on a constant temperature of 42 degrees C, reverse transcription as well as DNA amplification and detection was achieved in a maximum of 15 min. A probit analysis revealed a detection limit of 58.5 RNA copies/reaction. For cross-detection, nucleic acids from 19 viruses were tested. Both RT-RPA and real-time RT-PCR showed cross-detection with canine coronavirus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus, but not with other pathogens. To evaluate clinical performance, RNA was extracted from 39 fecal samples from cats. All samples were tested simultaneously with real-time RT-PCR resulting in a RT-RPA sensitivity and specificity of 90.9% and 100%, respectively. RT-RPA can be considered a promising simple method for rapid detection of FCoV.

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