Technology ID

Real-Time RT-PCR Assay for the Rapid Detection of Rabies and Other Lyssaviruses

Lead Inventor
Li, Yu (CDC)
Research Materials
Occupational Safety and Health
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Stages
Pre-Clinical (in vitro)
Lead IC
Rabies occurs in more than 150 countries and territories, resulting in at least 55,000 human deaths per year worldwide according to World Health Organization estimates. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease caused by numerous lyssaviruses that are found in a variety of animal species throughout the world. Rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing disease in the brain with almost 100% mortality once clinical symptoms manifest. Rapid and accurate laboratory diagnosis of rabies in humans and other animals is essential for timely administration of post-exposure prophylaxis.

Due to significant sequence variation among rabies and related lyssaviruses, no single molecular diagnostic test detects all species that may cause fatal human rabies. Using modified nucleotide detection technologies, CDC scientists have developed a real-time RT-PCR assay that can detect all current known lyssaviruses (up to 15 species) responsible for rabies. This one-step test has improved sensitivity and specificity compared to current rabies diagnostic assays; it is also simpler to run and ready for field use. The real-time RT-PCR assay allows for rapid and efficient detection of rabies in both humans and animals, with an ability to distinguish between all known lyssavirus species that cause rabies.
Commercial Applications
  • A one-step PCR assay adaptable to kit format for the diagnosis of rabies in humans and animals
  • Quantification of viral RNA to assess rabies viral load, disease progression, and efficacy of experimental therapeutics – this may be valuable as newer treatment options become available
  • Assist efforts for canine rabies surveillance, control, and eradication
Competitive Advantages
  • Increased sensitivity and specificity compared to standard methods
  • Detects all currently known species of lyssaviruses that cause rabies as well as other lyssaviruses
  • This simple, one-step assay provides rapid results in approximately 90 minutes
  • Currently, there are no other commercial test kits available for complete rabies diagnosis from lyssaviruses
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah