Rapid isothermal amplification methods have recently been introduced, and some of these methods offer significant advantages over PCR. The objective of this study was to develop a rapid and sensitive multiplex loop-mediated isothermal amplification (M-LAMP) assay for the detection of respiratory syncytial virus subgroups A and B (RSV A and B). We designed six primers each for the matrix gene of RSV A and the polymerase gene of RSV B and developed an M-LAMP assay by using a commercially available master mix and a real-time fluorometer (Genie II; Optigene, United Kingdom) that displays real-time amplification, time to positivity, and amplicon annealing temperature (
T m). The M-LAMP was evaluated against PCR by testing 275 nasopharyngeal (NP) specimens. The final optimized M-LAMP assay had a mean amplification time of 14.2 min (compared with 90 to 120 min for PCR) and had an analytical sensitivity of 1 genome equivalent (ge) for both RSV A and B. Using PCR as a comparator, M-LAMP had a sensitivity of 100% (81/81) and specificity of 100% (194/194). We also evaluated a 3- to 10-min specimen processing method involving vortexing with glass beads and heating to 98°C in M-swab medium (Copan Italia, Brescia, Italy) and found that this rapid processing method allowed detection of 37/41 (90.2%) of positives when we used extracted nucleic acid. In summary, the M-LAMP assay had excellent sensitivity and specificity for detecting RSV A and B in NP specimens and, when coupled with a rapid specimen preparation method, could provide a specimen-to-result diagnosis time of 30 min.