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Since the first African swine fever (ASF) outbreak was reported in China in 2018, the disease has spread rapidly to several countries in Asia. The early detection of this disease is essential for the ASF control strategy to be effective. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a nucleic acid detection assay that is rapid, simple, cost-effective and field-friendly. In this study, we have developed a colorimetric assay of LAMP to detect ASF virus (ASFV). A set of LAMP primers was designed to target the conserved region of the VP72 gene. The conditions of LAMP were optimized. The amplification products were easily detected by the naked eye using hydroxynaphthol blue (HNB). The positive LAMP reaction generated a violet to sky blue color change. The sensitivity and specificity of LAMP assay were demonstrated in comparison with the OIE-recommended real-time PCR. A total of 211 samples including 121 confiscated pork products and 90 spiked clinical specimens were tested. The optimal amplification of ASFV DNA by LAMP was incubation at 60 °C for 90 min. The analytical sensitivity of ASFV LAMP assay was at least 368 plasmid DNA copies/µL without cross-reactivity with other swine pathogens. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of LAMP were 88% and 100%, respectively. There was almost perfect agreement between LAMP and real-time PCR assays (Kappa value=0.84). This novel LAMP assay is deemed to be a rapid, simple, sensitive, specific diagnostic tool and suitable for early detection of ASF to minimize the likelihood of ASF spread nationwide.
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