Diagnosis of Rift Valley fever (RVF) is based on serology and virus isolation. The disadvantages of the former include poor sensitivity, high cost, risks associated with using infectious virus as antigen, the lengthy duration of ELISA as well as cross-reactivity with other Phleboviruses. We developed, optimised and evaluated a one-tube reverse-transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the detection of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) in ruminants. The PCR primers for this assay were designed to anneal to a region within the M segment of the virus genome, encoding glycoproteins G1 and G2. A PCR amplicon of 363 bp was obtained. The sensitivity of the assay was determined to be 0.25 TCID₅₀. This test should allow for the early and rapid detection of RVFV in both serum and whole blood. In addition, it could facilitate the quantification of antigen for the manufacture of current vaccines.
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