Rabies, which is caused by rabies virus (RABV), poses an ever-present threat to public health in most countries of the world. Once clinical signs appear, the mortality of rabies approaches 100%. To date, no effective method for early rabies diagnosis has been developed. In this study, an RPA-CRISPR nucleic-acid-based assay was developed for early rabies diagnosis by detecting viral RNA shedding in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of rats. This method can detect a single copy of RABV genomic RNA in 1 μL of liquid. RABV genomic RNA released from viral particles in the CSF could be detected via RPA-CRISPR as early as 3 days postinfection in a rat model. This study provides an RPA-CRISPR technique for early detection of RABV with potential application in the clinical diagnosis of human rabies.
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