Equipment-Free Incubation of Recombinase Polymerase Amplification Reactions Using Body Heat
Crannell, Zachary Austin
The development of isothermal amplification platforms for nucleic acid detection has the potential to increase access to molecular diagnostics in low resource settings; however, simple, low-cost methods for heating samples are required to perform reactions. In this study, we demonstrated that human body heat may be harnessed to incubate recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) reactions for isothermal amplification of HIV-1 DNA. After measuring the temperature of mock reactions at 4 body locations, the axilla was chosen as the ideal site for comfortable, convenient incubation. Using commonly available materials, 3 methods for securing RPA reactions to the body were characterized. Finally, RPA reactions were incubated using body heat while control RPA reactions were incubated in a heat block. At room temperature, all reactions with 10 copies of HIV-1 DNA and 90% of reactions with 100 copies of HIV-1 DNA tested positive when incubated with body heat. In a cold room with an ambient temperature of 10 degrees Celsius, all reactions containing 10 copies or 100 copies of HIV-1 DNA tested positive when incubated with body heat. These results suggest that human body heat may provide an extremely low-cost solution for incubating RPA reactions in low resource settings.