This study compares herpes simplex virus (HSV) type-specific loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) with virus isolation and real-time PCR. Genital tract specimens were obtained from 25 patients with genital lesions; two swab samples were collected from the vulva and cervix of each patient, for a total of 50 specimens. After culturing, 10 of 50 (20%) samples were positive for HSV-1 and 12 of 50 (24%) samples were positive for HSV-2. None of the patients excreted both HSV-1 and HSV-2 virus. An original HSV type-specific LAMP assay (30 min reaction) was compared with virus isolation and HSV type-specific real-time PCR. Viral DNA was detected by LAMP in 9 of 10 HSV-1 isolated samples and 11 of 12 HSV-2 isolated samples. No viral DNA was detected in samples without virus isolation. Thus, if virus isolation was used as the standard method, the LAMP protocol was highly sensitive and specific. In comparing LAMP to real-time PCR, viral DNA was detected by the LAMP method in 9 of 12 HSV-1 DNA positive samples and 11 of 18 HSV-2 DNA positive samples. If real-time PCR was used as the standard method, then, sensitivity of the LAMP method (in particular, for HSV-2) was low. Taking this into consideration, the LAMP reaction was extended to 60 min. This led to an increase in sensitivity, resulting in an additional one and three samplestesting positive for HSV-1 LAMP and HSV-2 LAMP, respectively, compared to the original LAMP protocol. Therefore, the sensitivity of the LAMP method increased to about 80%.
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