Archives of Virology

, Volume 162, Issue 5, pp 1311–1318 | Cite as

Clinical evaluation of the isothermal amplification assays for the detection of four common respiratory viruses in children with pneumonia

  • Hangyu Zhou
  • Mengchuan Zhao
  • Xinna Li
  • Dan Zhang
  • Shuaifeng Zhou
  • Chen Chen
  • Zhishan FengEmail author
  • Xuejun MaEmail author
Original Article


Respiratory viruses are recognized as serious causes of morbidity and mortality in lower respiratory tract infections in patients. Isothermal amplification assays are increasingly used in their detection because of their rapidity, simplicity and cost-effectiveness, when compared to traditional molecular diagnostic methods. However, systematic assessment of these assays in the clinical settings is rarely reported. MEDLINE (Pubmed) searches were done analysing subject headings and words in the abstract related to isothermal amplification assay and virus. Selected loop-mediated isothermal amplification assays (LAMP) for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and adenovirus (ADV) as well as a reverse transcription genome exponential amplification reaction assay (GEAR) for human rhinovirus (HRV) were clinically evaluated in a head to head comparison against a two-tube multiplex reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay (two-tube assay) using 634 respiratory specimens from children with pneumonia from different regions in China. Discrepant results between isothermal amplification assays and the two-tube assay were resolved by sequencing. A comparison of sensitivities of each selected isothermal amplification assay among province, gender, and age groups was also analyzed. A total of 634 respiratory specimens selected from Hebei Province children’s hospital and Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention were tested. The overall detection rate (number of positive specimens/total specimens) for viruses tested by Reverse transcription (RT)-LAMP/LAMP/RT-GEAR was 35.9% while the detection rate was 46.2% by the two-tube assay. The sensitivity of each isothermal amplification assay was 88.4%, 74.3%, 100% and 73.6% for RSV, HMPV, ADV and HRV, respectively. No false positives were found in isothermal amplification assays. All the discrepant negative results by isothermal amplification assays were confirmed false negatives by sequencing. The LAMP assay for ADV showed significant consistency with the two-tube assay. A higher sensitivity of RSV detection was found in Hunan Province than in Hebei Province (P = 0.01). Among different age groups, a higher sensitivity of RSV detection was also found in children older than 1 year, when compared to children less than 1 year (P = 0.01). The clinical performance of the selected isothermal amplification assays for different viruses varies. Multiple-center assessment is critical to evaluate isothermal amplification assays, especially for RNA viruses, for their broad use in clinical hospital. The selected LAMP assay for the detection of ADV is reliable and has great potential for use in clinics; however, the sensitivities of the LAMP/GEAR assays for the detection of RSV, HMPV and HRV need to be further improved to meet clinical requirements, although a statistical difference in sensitivity was only found for the selected LAMP assay for RSV.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Respiratory Virus Lamp Assay Clinical Sensitivity Annealing Curve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We acknowledge the children’s hospital of Hebei and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Hunan province for providing nasopharyngeal aspirates.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors approved the final manuscript and they have no conflict of interest to declare.


This work was supported by the China Mega-Project for Infectious Disease [Grant Numbers 2016ZX10004-101], State key project [Grand Number 2016TFC1202700], Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission project [Grant Numbers D151100002115003] and Guangzhou Municipal Science and Technology Commission project (Grant Numbers 2015B2150820).

Informed consent

All aspects of the study were performed in accordance with national ethics regulations and appraised by the Institutional Review Boards of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of China. Children’s parents were apprised of the study’s purpose and of their right to keep information confidential. Written informed consent was obtained from parents or caregivers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hangyu Zhou
    • 1
  • Mengchuan Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xinna Li
    • 1
  • Dan Zhang
    • 1
  • Shuaifeng Zhou
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chen Chen
    • 1
  • Zhishan Feng
    • 2
    Email author
  • Xuejun Ma
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Medical Virology, National Health and Family Planning Commission, National Institute for Viral Disease Control and PreventionChinese Center for Disease Control and PreventionBeijingChina
  2. 2.Pediatric Research InstituteChildren’s Hospital of Hebei ProvinceShijiazhuangChina
  3. 3.Department of MicrobiologyCenter for Disease Control and Prevention of HunanChangshaChina

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