Apr 8, 2020

Extraction-free COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) diagnosis by RT-PCR to increase capacity for national testing programmes during a pandemic

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Paul R GrantL. J. Levett


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory tract infection. The standard molecular diagnostic test is a multistep process involving viral RNA extraction and real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). Laboratories across the globe face constraints on equipment and reagents during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have developed a simplified qRT-PCR assay that removes the need for an RNA extraction process and can be run on a real-time thermal cycler. The assay uses custom primers and probes, and maintains diagnostic sensitivity within 98.0% compared to the assay run on a high-throughput, random-access automated platform, the Panther Fusion (Hologic). This assay can be used to increase capacity for COVID-19 testing for national programmes worldwide.

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