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Analyst ; 147(6): 1213-1221, 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35212693


COVID-19 has caused millions of cases and deaths all over the world since late 2019. Rapid detection of the virus is crucial for controlling its spread through a population. COVID-19 is currently detected by nucleic acid-based tests and serological tests. However, these methods have limitations such as the requirement of high-cost reagents, false negative results and being time consuming. Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), which is a powerful technique that enhances the Raman signals of molecules using plasmonic nanostructures, can overcome these disadvantages. In this study, we developed a virus-infected cell model and analyzed this model by SERS combined with Principal Component Analysis (PCA). HEK293 cells were transfected with plasmids encoding the nucleocapsid (N), membrane (M) and envelope (E) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 via polyethyleneimine (PEI). Non-plasmid transfected HEK293 cells were used as the control group. Cellular uptake was optimized with green fluorescence protein (GFP) plasmids and evaluated by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The transfection efficiency was found to be around 60%. The expression of M, N, and E proteins was demonstrated by western blotting. The SERS spectra of the total proteins of transfected cells were obtained using a gold nanoparticle-based SERS substrate. Proteins of the transfected cells have peak positions at 646, 680, 713, 768, 780, 953, 1014, 1046, 1213, 1243, 1424, 2102, and 2124 cm-1. To reveal spectral differences between plasmid transfected cells and non-transfected control cells, PCA was applied to the spectra. The results demonstrated that SERS coupled with PCA might be a favorable and reliable way to develop a rapid, low-cost, and promising technique for the detection of COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Metal Nanoparticles , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , Gold/chemistry , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Multivariate Analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spectrum Analysis, Raman/methods