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Future Microbiol ; : 1483-1487, 2020 Nov 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-921124


RT-PCR-based assays for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 have played an essential role in the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, the sample collection and test reagents are in short supply, primarily due to supply chain issues. Thus, to eliminate testing constraints, we have optimized three key process variables: RNA extraction and RT-PCR reactions, different sample types and media to facilitate SARS-CoV-2 testing. By performing various validation and bridging studies, we have shown that various sample types such as nasopharyngeal swab, bronchioalveolar lavage and saliva, collected using conventional nasopharyngeal swabs, ESwab or 3D-printed swabs and, preserved in viral transport media, universal transport media, 0.9% sodium chloride or Amies media are compatible with RT-PCR assay for COVID-19. Besides, the reduction of PCR reagents by up to fourfold also produces reliable results.

J Mol Diagn ; 22(10): 1294-1299, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-802774


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing has lagged in many countries because of test kit shortages and analytical process bottlenecks. This study investigated the feasibility and accuracy of a sample pooling approach for wide-scale population screening for coronavirus disease 2019. A total of 940 nasopharyngeal swab samples (934 negative and 6 positive) previously tested for SARS-CoV-2 were deidentified and assigned random numbers for analysis, and 94 pools of 10 samples each were generated. Automated RNA extraction, followed by RT-PCR, was performed in a 96-well plate. Positive pools were identified, and the individual samples were reanalyzed. Of the 94 pools/wells, four were positive [Ct values: N (22.7 to 28.3), ORF1ab (23.3 to 27.2), and internal control (34.4 to 35.4)]. The 40 samples comprising the four pools were identified and reanalyzed individually; six samples were positive, with Ct values of N gene, ORF1ab, and internal control comparable to their respective wells. Additional experiments were performed on samples with high Ct values, and overall results showed 91.6% positive and 100% negative agreement compared with individual testing approach. Thus, 940 samples were tested in 148 reactions compared with 940 reactions in routine screening. The sample pooling strategy may help catch up with testing needs and minimal turnaround times and facilitate enormous savings on laboratory supplies, extraction, and PCR kits currently in short supply.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Mass Screening/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Specimen Handling/standards , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2