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A rapid multiplex real-time PCR detection of toxigenic Clostridioides difficile directly from fecal samples

Jia, XX;Wang, YY;Zhang, WZ;Li, WG;Bai, LL;Lu, JX;Ma, CF;Wu, Y;

This study developed a new single-tube multiplex real-time PCR method for detecting toxigenic C. difficile directly from fecal samples using tcdAtcdBcdtB, and internal gene tpi as targets, which could be performed on kinds of polymerase chain reaction device including point-of-care testing (POCT), with improved detection efficiency. The specificity, sensitivity, and repeatability of each gene was evaluated using 69 Cdifficile isolates and 74 fecal samples. Results were compared with established PCR, qPCR, and ELISA methods. Interspecies specificity was 100% based on six common intestinal pathogens (Escherichia coli, Enterococcus Faecium, Enterococcus faecalis, Clostridium perfringens, Bacteroides fragilis, Clostridium botulinum). The lower detection limit (LDL) for tcdAtcdB, and cdtB with pure Cdifficile DNA was 101,100, and 100 copies/μL, respectively, the coefficients of variation among different experimental batches and within each experimental batch were both less than 3%, which shows that this method has strong repeatability. And the LDL of fecal DNA was 5 × 100, 5 × 103, and 5 × 102 colony-forming units (CFU)/g, respectively. In addition, the efficiency for detection of tcdA was compared with established PCR and real-time PCR methods, demonstrating high consistency (98.4%) and similar sensitivity. ELISA was used to confirm inconsistent results, which were identical with our method. The sensitivity and specificity for detecting toxigenic Cdifficile in fecal samples were 96.49% and 94.12% compared with the toxigenic culture (TC). This method effectively identified the toxigenic and non-toxigenic strains with high specificity, sensitivity, and repeatability, and could reduce the false positive rate of tcdA, and accurately identify the typical Asian strain RT017, making it potentially contribute to the surveillance of CDI in China.