Point of care colourimetric and lateral flow LAMP assay for the detection of Haemonchus contortus in ruminant faecal samples.
ABSTRACT: In this study, we present an optimised colourimetric and a lateral flow LAMP assay for the detection of Haemonchus contortus in small ruminant faecal samples. Using a previously published LAMP primer set, we made use of commercially available colourimetric LAMP and lateral flow kits and combined this into an optimised diagnostic assay which was then tested on field faecal samples from Eastern and South-Eastern Hungary as well as a pure H. contortus egg faecal sample from Košice, Slovakia. Both assays showed no conflicts in visual detection of the results. Additionally, we modified and tested several centrifuge-free DNA extraction methods and one bead-beating egg lysis DNA extraction method to develop a true point of care protocol, as the source of the starting DNA is the main rate-limiting step in farm-level molecular diagnosis. Out of the various methods trialed, promising results were obtained with the magnetic bead extraction method. Sample solutions from the Fill-FLOTAC® technique were also utilised, which demonstrated that it could be efficiently adapted for field-level egg concentration to extract DNA. This proof of concept study showed that isothermal amplification technologies with a colourimetric detection or when combined with a lateral flow assay could be an important step for a true point of care molecular diagnostic assay for H. contortus.
Project description:Resistance to ivermectin (IVM) in the nematode Haemonchus contortus in small ruminants is an increasing problem throughout the world. Access to molecular diagnostics will allow early detection of IVM resistance, which in turn can limit the spread of resistant isolates. One candidate gene which has recently been suggested as a marker for IVM resistance is that for dye-filling protein (dyf-7). In this study, we critically investigated the suitability of A141G and G153T single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of dyf-7 as a marker in larval cultures collected from sheep farms in Sweden, involving several isolates for which resistance status had been characterised by the faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT). Initially, we designed dyf-7 primers from a worldwide collection of adult Haemonchus contortus DNA. With the sequence data, we created a haplotype network. We then optimised and used the same sets of primers and probes in a droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) assay for precise quantification of dyf-7 allele frequencies in pre- and post-anthelmintic treatment faecal larval cultures. The fractional abundance (FA) of the mutant SNP was within the range 7.8 and 31%. However, the FA was generally stable in samples collected from the same farms, even though they were obtained on different occasions up to 25 months apart. There was also no indication that the level of IVM resistance as measured by the faecal egg count reduction test was higher on farms with high FA. Furthermore, by comparing FA in samples from the same farms pre- and post-IVM treatment, we found no evidence of a correlation between dyf-7 and level of IVM resistance. Based on these results, dyf-7 is not a suitable marker for field testing of IVM resistance in H. contortus.
Project description:Rapid, field-based diagnostic assays are desirable tools for the control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Current approaches involve either; 1) Detection of FMD virus (FMDV) with immuochromatographic antigen lateral flow devices (LFD), which have relatively low analytical sensitivity, or 2) portable RT-qPCR that has high analytical sensitivity but is expensive. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) may provide a platform upon which to develop field based assays without these drawbacks. The objective of this study was to modify an FMDV-specific reverse transcription-LAMP (RT-LAMP) assay to enable detection of dual-labelled LAMP products with an LFD, and to evaluate simple sample processing protocols without nucleic acid extraction. The limit of detection of this assay was demonstrated to be equivalent to that of a laboratory based real-time RT-qPCR assay and to have a 10,000 fold higher analytical sensitivity than the FMDV-specific antigen LFD currently used in the field. Importantly, this study demonstrated that FMDV RNA could be detected from epithelial suspensions without the need for prior RNA extraction, utilising a rudimentary heat source for amplification. Once optimised, this RT-LAMP-LFD protocol was able to detect multiple serotypes from field epithelial samples, in addition to detecting FMDV in the air surrounding infected cattle, pigs and sheep, including pre-clinical detection. This study describes the development and evaluation of an assay format, which may be used as a future basis for rapid and low cost detection of FMDV. In addition it provides providing "proof of concept" for the future use of LAMP assays to tackle other challenging diagnostic scenarios encompassing veterinary and human health.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Gastrointestinal nematode infections, such as Haemonchus contortus and Mecistocirrus digitatus, are ranked in the top twenty diseases affecting small-holder farmers' livestock, yet research into M. digitatus, which infects cattle and buffalo in Asia is limited. Intestine-derived native protein vaccines are effective against Haemonchus, yet the protective efficacy of intestine-derived M. digitatus proteins has yet to be determined.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>A simplified protein extraction protocol (A) is described and compared to an established method (B) for protein extraction from H. contortus. Proteomic analysis of the H. contortus and M. digitatus protein extracts identified putative vaccine antigens including aminopeptidases (H11), zinc metallopeptidases, glutamate dehydrogenase, and apical gut membrane polyproteins. A vaccine trial compared the ability of the M. digitatus extract and two different H. contortus extracts to protect sheep against H. contortus challenge. Both Haemonchus fractions (A and B) were highly effective, reducing cumulative Faecal Egg Counts (FEC) by 99.19% and 99.89% and total worm burdens by 87.28% and 93.64% respectively, compared to the unvaccinated controls. There was no effect on H. contortus worm burdens following vaccination with the M. digitatus extract and the 28.2% reduction in cumulative FEC was not statistically significant. However, FEC were consistently lower in the M. digitatus extract vaccinates compared to the un-vaccinated controls from 25 days post-infection.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>Similar, antigenically cross-reactive proteins are found in H. contortus and M. digitatus; this is the first step towards developing a multivalent native vaccine against Haemonchus species and M. digitatus. The simplified protein extraction method could form the basis for a locally produced vaccine against H. contortus and, possibly M. digitatus, in regions where effective cold chains for vaccine distribution are limited. The application of such a vaccine in these regions would reduce the need for anthelmintic treatment and the resultant selection for anthelmintic resistant parasites.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hookworm infection is a major concern in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in children and pregnant women. Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale are responsible for this condition. Hookworm disease is one of the Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that are targeted for elimination through global mass chemotherapy. To support this there is a need for reliable diagnostic tools. The conventional diagnostic test, Kato-Katz that is based on microscopic detection of parasite ova in faecal samples, is not effective due to its low sensitivity that is brought about mainly by non-random distribution of eggs in stool and day to day variation in egg output. It is tedious, cumbersome to perform and requires experience for correct diagnosis. LAMP-based tests are simple, relatively cheap, offer greater sensitivity, specificity than existing tests, have high throughput capability, and are ideal for use at the point of care.<h4>Methods</h4>We have developed a LAMP diagnostic test for detection of hookworm infection in faecal samples. LAMP relies on auto cycling strand displacement DNA synthesis performed at isothermal temperature by Bst polymerase and a set of 4 specific primers. The primers used in the LAMP assay were based on the second Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS-2) region and designed using Primer Explorer version 4 Software. The ITS-2 region of the ribosomal gene (rDNA) was identified as a suitable target due to its low mutation rates and substantial differences between species. DNA was extracted directly from human faecal samples, followed by LAMP amplification at isothermal temperature of 63 °C for 1 h. Amplicons were visualized using gel electrophoresis and SYBR green dye. Both specificity and sensitivity of the assay were determined.<h4>Results</h4>The LAMP based technique developed was able to detect N. americanus DNA in faecal samples. The assay showed 100 % specificity and no cross-reaction was observed with other helminth parasites (S. mansoni, A. lumbricoides or T. trichiura). The developed LAMP assay was 97 % sensitive and DNA at concentrations as low as 0.4 fg were amplified.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The LAMP assay developed is an appropriate diagnostic method for the detection of N. americanus DNA in human stool samples because of its simplicity, low cost, sensitivity, and specificity. It holds great promise as a useful diagnostic tool for use in disease control where infection intensities have been significantly reduced.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The microbial community analysis of stools requires optimised and standardised protocols for their collection, homogenisation, microbial disruption and nucleic acid extraction. Here we examined whether different layers of the stool are equally representative of the microbiome. We also studied the effect of stool water content, which typically increases in diarrhoeic samples, and of a microbial disruption method on DNA integrity and, therefore, on providing an unbiased microbial composition analysis. RESULTS: We collected faecal samples from healthy subjects and performed microbial composition analysis by pyrosequencing the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. To examine the effect of stool structure, we compared the inner and outer layers of the samples (N?=?8). Both layers presented minor differences in microbial composition and abundance at the species level. These differences did not significantly bias the microbial community specific to an individual. To evaluate the effect of stool water content and bead-beating, we used various volumes of a water-based salt solution and beads of distinct weights before nucleic acid extraction (N?=?4). The different proportions of water did not affect the UniFrac-based clustering of samples from the same subject However, the use or omission of a bead-beating step produced different proportions of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and significant changes in the UniFrac-based clustering of the samples. CONCLUSION: The degree of hydration and homogenisation of faecal samples do not significantly alter their microbial community composition. However, the use of bead-beating is critical for the proper detection of Gram-positive bacteria such as Blautia and Bifidobacterium.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Parasitic nematodes can cause substantial clinical and subclinical problems in alpacas and anthelmintics are regularly used to control parasitic nematodes in alpacas. Although anthelmintic resistance has been reported in ruminants worldwide, very little is known about anthelmintic resistance in alpacas. The present study was carried out to confirm a suspected case of anthelmintic resistance in Haemonchus contortus in alpacas in Australia. METHODS: Post mortem examination of an alpaca was conducted to determine the cause of its death. To confirm a suspected case of macrocyclic lactone (ML) resistance in H. contortus in alpacas, a faecal egg count reduction test (FECRT) was performed using closantel (7.5 mg/kg) and ivermectin (0.2 mg/kg). Nematode species were identified by morphological and molecular methods. RESULTS: Post mortem examination of a 1-year-old female alpaca that had died following a brief period of lethargy, anorexia and recumbency revealed severe anaemia, hypoproteinaemia and gastric parasitism by adult Haemonchus contortus, despite recent abamectin (0.2 mg/kg) treatment. Based on these findings and the exclusive use of MLs in the herd over the preceding six years, ML resistance in parasitic nematodes of alpacas on this farm was suspected. FECRT revealed that the efficacy of closantel was 99% (95% CI 93-100), whereas that of ivermectin was 35% (95% CI 0-78), indicating that the treatment failure was likely due to the presence of ML-resistant nematodes. Larval culture of faecal samples collected following ivermectin treatment consisted of 99% H. contortus and 1% Cooperia oncophora, a result confirmed using a PCR assay. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first evidence of ML resistance in H. contortus in alpacas in Australia. Based on the extent of anthelmintic resistance in sheep gastrointestinal nematodes in Australia, veterinarians and alpaca owners should be encouraged to implement integrated parasite management strategies to improve nematode control in alpacas.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Anthelmintic resistance (AR) in gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) is increasing globally, and farmers are encouraged to adopt sustainable control measures. Haemonchus contortus is increasingly reported in the UK, potentially complicating effective GIN control.<h4>Methods</h4>Faecal egg count reduction tests (FECRT) were conducted on 13 farms in north Devon, England, UK in 2016. Relative abundance of H. contortus was quantified using peanut agglutinin staining and used to estimate faecal egg count reduction percentages (FECR%) using the eggCounts R package.<h4>Results</h4>On average, farms had GIN resistance to three anthelmintic classes. No farms had susceptibility to all anthelmintics tested. AR was more prevalent in 2016 than on the same farms in 2013. H. contortus was present on 85% of the farms tested and comprised on average 6% (0%-52%) of GIN eggs before treatment. Resistance or suspected resistance to all anthelmintics tested was observed in this species on different farms.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The results demonstrate diversity of AR profiles on farms, apparent progression of AR within a 3-year period, and challenges detecting AR in mixed-species infections. Where possible, interpretation of mixed-species FECRT should take into account the relative abundance of species pre- and post-treatment to identify pragmatic treatment options targeting individual genera.
Project description:Diagnosis of soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) has traditionally relied on stool microscopy, which has a number of critical deficiencies. Molecular diagnostics are powerful tools to identify closely related species, but the requirement for costly equipment makes their implementation difficult in low-resource or field settings. Rapid, sensitive and cost-effective diagnostic tools are crucial for accurate estimation of STH infection intensity in MDA programmes in which the goal is to reduce morbidity following repeated rounds of chemotherapy.In this study, colourimetric isothermal assays were developed using SmartAmp2 primer sets and reagents in loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) assays. Species-specific primer sets, designed on a specific target sequence in the ?-tubulin gene, were used to identify Necator americanus, Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides. After initial optimization on control plasmids and genomic DNA from adult worms, assays were evaluated on field samples. Assays showed high sensitivity and demonstrated high tolerance to inhibitors in spiked faecal samples. Rapid and sensitive colourimetric assays were successfully developed to identify the STHs in field samples using hydroxy napthol blue (HNB) dye.Rapid and simple colourimetric diagnostic assays, using the SmartAmp2 method, were developed, with the potential to be applied in the field for detection of STH infections and the estimation of response to treatment. However, further validation on large numbers of field samples is needed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Characterisation of the bacterial composition of the gut microbiota is increasingly carried out with a view to establish the role of different bacterial species in causation or prevention of disease. It is thus essential that the methods used to determine the microbial composition are robust. Here, several widely used molecular techniques were compared to establish the optimal methods to assess the bacterial composition in faecal samples from babies, before weaning. RESULTS:The bacterial community profile detected in the faeces of infants is highly dependent on the methodology used. Bifidobacteria were the most abundant bacteria detected at 6 weeks in faeces from two initially breast-fed babies using fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH), in agreement with data from previous culture-based studies. Using the 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach, however, we found that the detection of bifidobacteria in particular crucially depended on the optimisation of the DNA extraction method, and the choice of primers used to amplify the V1-V3 regions of 16S rRNA genes prior to subsequent sequence analysis. Bifidobacteria were only well represented among amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences when mechanical disruption (bead-beating) procedures for DNA extraction were employed together with optimised "universal" PCR primers. These primers incorporate degenerate bases at positions where mismatches to bifidobacteria and other bacterial taxa occur. The use of a DNA extraction kit with no bead-beating step resulted in a complete absence of bifidobacteria in the sequence data, even when using the optimised primers. CONCLUSIONS:This work emphasises the importance of sample processing methodology to downstream sequencing results and illustrates the value of employing multiple approaches for determining microbiota composition.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Benzimidazole (BZ) anthelmintics are widely used to control infections with parasitic nematodes, but BZ resistance is an emerging threat among several nematode species infecting humans and animals. In Sudan, BZ-resistant Haemonchus contortus populations were recently reported in goats in South Darfur State. The objective of this study was to collect data regarding the situation of BZ resistance in cattle parasitic nematodes in South Darfur using phenotypic and molecular approaches, besides providing some epidemiological data on nematodes in cattle.<h4>Methods</h4>The faecal egg count reduction test and the egg hatch test (EHT) were used to evaluate benzimidazole efficacy in cattle nematodes in five South Darfur study areas: Beleil, Kass, Nyala, Rehed Al-Birdi and Tulus. Genomic DNA was extracted from pools of third-stage larvae (L3) (n = 40) during trials, before and after treatment, and pools of adult male Haemonchus spp. (n = 18) from abattoirs. The polymorphisms F167Y, E198A and F200Y in isotype 1 β-tubulin genes of H. contortus and H. placei were analysed using Sanger and pyrosequencing.<h4>Results</h4>Prevalence of gastro-intestinal helminths in cattle was 71% (313/443). Reduced albendazole faecal egg count reduction efficacy was detected in three study areas: Nyala (93.7%), Rehed Al-Birdi (89.7%) and Tulus (88.2%). In the EHT, EC<sub>50</sub> values of these study areas ranged between 0.032 and 0.037 µg/ml thiabendazole. Genus-specific PCRs detected the genera Haemonchus, Trichostrongylus and Cooperia in L3 samples collected after albendazole treatment. Sanger sequencing followed by pyrosequencing assays did not detect elevated frequencies of known BZ resistance-associated alleles in codon F167Y, E198A and F200Y in isotype 1 β-tubulin gene of H. placei (≤ 11.38%). However, polymorphisms were detected in H. contortus and in samples with mixed infections with H. contortus and H. placei at codon 198, including E198L (16/58), E198V (2/58) and potentially E198Stop (1/58). All pooled L3 samples post-albendazole treatment (n = 13) were identified as H. contortus with an E198L substitution at codon 198.<h4>Conclusions</h4>To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first report of reduced albendazole efficacy in cattle in Sudan and is the first study describing an E198L substitution in phenotypically BZ-resistant nematodes collected from cattle.