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Performance of Simplexa dengue molecular assay compared to conventional and SYBR green RT-PCR for detection of dengue infection in Indonesia

Diagnostic tests based on detection of dengue virus (DENV) genome are available with varying sensitivities and specificities. The Simplexa Dengue assay (Focus Diagnostics) is a newly developed real-time RT-PCR method designed to detect and serotype DENV simultaneously. To assess the performance of the Simplexa Dengue assay, we performed comparison with conventional RT-PCR and SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR on patients sera isolated from eight cities across Indonesia, a dengue endemic country. A total of 184 sera that were confirmed using NS1 and/or IgM and IgG ELISA were examined. Using conventional and SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR, we detected DENV in 53 (28.8%) and 81 (44.0%) out of 184 sera, respectively. When the Simplexa Dengue assay was employed, the detection rate was increased to 76.6% (141 out of 184 samples). When tested in 40 sera that were confirmed by virus isolation as the gold standard, the conventional RT-PCR yielded 95% sensitivity while the sensitivity of SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR and Simplexa Dengue assay reached 97.5% and 100%, respectively. The specificities of all methods were 100% when tested in 43 non-dengue illness and 20 healthy human samples. Altogether, our data showed the higher detection rate of Simplexa Dengue compared to conventional and SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR in field/surveillance setting. In conclusion, Simplexa Dengue offers rapid and accurate detection and typing of dengue infection and is suitable for both routine diagnostic and surveillance.

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