Sayamon Hongjaisee, PhD

Nominated From: University of Minnesota

Research Site: Chiang Mai University

Research Area: Molecular virology, HIV/AIDS, viral Hepatitis

Primary Mentor: Khuanchai Supparatpinyo

Research Project

Development of point-of-care testing for hepatitis C virus detection using reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer. About 71 million people are chronically infected with HCV worldwide. Although >95% of patients with HCV infection can be now cured by the use of direct-acting antiviral agents (DAA), most of HCV-infected individuals are unaware of their infection. Anti-HCV antibody detection alone is insufficient for diagnosis of HCV infection. The presence of anti-HCV may reflect to the past infection with spontaneous clearance, thus the testing for HCV RNA is still required to confirm a current or on-going HCV replication. Nucleic acid-based detection techniques are the most reliable methods for diagnosis of HCV infection, many molecular diagnostic assays have been developed. However, these require expensive laboratory facilities, specialized equipment, well-trained personnel, and are time-consuming which limit their application for on-site HCV diagnosis, especially in remote areas and resource-limited settings. For this reason, there is still a need for the development of simple, cost-effective, and rapid diagnostic tools for current/chronic HCV infection. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a nucleic acid-based amplification method that amplifies target sequences with high specificity, efficiency, in a short period of time under isothermal conditions. The equipment needed for the LAMP reaction is a regular laboratory water bath or heat block that furnishes a constant temperature without an expensive thermocycler machine and the results from LAMP can be observed immediately by visual observation. In this study, reverse transcription LAMP (RT-LAMP) will be introduced for HCV RNA detection with all major genotypes.

Research Significance

The developed RT-LAMP method will be a suitable assay to confirm current/chronic HCV infection in individuals with anti-HCV positive tests, especially under conditions where sophisticated and expensive equipment are not available. It is a useful and suitable option for field and point-of-care use in remote areas.

Advice for Potential Candidates

Work on projects related to your research areas, identify potential mentors who are experts and already working in your research areas, and apply as early as possible.


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