Homegrown Tests for COVID-19

Published 19 January 2021 in Scientific Reports (doi 10.1038/s41598-020-80352-8):

Direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 using non-commercial RT-LAMP reagents on heat-inactivated samples

Alisa Alekseenko, Donal Barrett, Yerma Pareja-Sanchez, Rebecca J Howard, Emilia Strandback, Henry Ampah-Korsah, Urška Rovšnik, Silvia Zuniga-Veliz, Alexander Klenov, Jayshna Malloo, Shenglong Ye, Xiyang Liu, Björn Reinius, Simon J. Elsässer, Tomas Nyman, Gustaf Sandh, Xiushan Yin & Vicent Pelechano

RT-LAMP detection of SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be a valuable approach to scale up COVID-19 diagnostics and thus contribute to limiting the spread of the disease. Here we present the optimization of highly cost-effective in-house produced enzymes, and we benchmark their performance against commercial alternatives. We explore the compatibility between multiple DNA polymerases with high strand-displacement activity and thermostable reverse transcriptases required for RT-LAMP. We optimize reaction conditions and demonstrate their applicability using both synthetic RNA and clinical patient samples. Finally, we validate the optimized RT-LAMP assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in unextracted heat-inactivated nasopharyngeal samples from 184 patients. We anticipate that optimized and affordable reagents for RT-LAMP will facilitate the expansion of SARS-CoV-2 testing globally, especially in sites and settings where the need for large scale testing cannot be met by commercial alternatives.

Read the full publication here.