Background: The loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method is a novel technique for the amplification of specific DNA sequences. Objectives: To establish the LAMP method for amplifying Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA and to examine its reliability for the detection of EBV DNA in clinical specimens. Study design: Sera from 108 patients, who were initially suspected of primary EBV infection, were tested by the EBV LAMP method, and the results were compared with those of the real-time PCR assay. Serological examination was regarded as the standard diagnostic method. Results: To diagnose primary EBV infection, the sensitivity of LAMP was 86.4% and the specificity was 100%. The sensitivity of the real-time PCR assay was 84.1% and the specificity was 98.4%. Longitudinal analysis showed that the detection rate of EBV DNA in serum by the LAMP method decreased with time in accordance with the decrease of the EBV load. EBV DNA could not be detected in serum 40 days after onset of symptoms. Conclusions: These results indicate that the sensitivity and specificity of the LAMP method are comparable to those of real-time PCR and that detecting EBV DNA in serum by this method is potentially useful for diagnosing primary EBV infection.
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