We are developing a rapid, CRISPR-based test for COVID-19 that would detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 using shelf-stable reagents that are widely available at low cost.
Disease outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, demand flexible diagnostics for rapid viral detection. Tests such as quantitative PCR (qPCR) are conducted in facilities that require labor-intensive personnel and equipment infrastructure for sample accessioning, nucleic acid extraction, thermocycling, and data analysis. Fast, frequent, and point-of-care testing, can be an effective way to break the chain of transmission.
We are developing a method that does not require RNA extraction or upper respiratory tract swabs. Saliva samples can be collected while minimizing contact between healthcare workers and patients, improving safety and decreasing PPE demand. Saliva sampling is reported to have 97% concordance with nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs in RT-qPCR detection, indicating it can be a reliable method for detection. Coupled with direct lysis and saliva sampling, CRISPR-based detection and isothermal amplification have significant potential for point-of-care diagnostics for COVID-19 and for future disease outbreaks.
Related medRxiv Preprint: Rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 with Cas13
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