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Microorganisms ; 9(9)2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410330


Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are an integral part of SARS-CoV-2 containment strategies. As emerging variants of concern (VOCs) displace the initially circulating strains, it is crucial that RATs do not fail to detect these new variants. In this study, four RATs for nasal swab testing were investigated using cultured strains of B.1.1 (non-VOC), B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). Based on dilution series in cell culture medium and pooled saliva, the limit of detection of these RATs was determined in a laboratory setting. Further investigations on cross-reactivity were conducted using recombinant N-protein from seasonal human coronaviruses (hCoVs). RATs evaluated showed an overall comparable performance with cultured strains of the non-VOC B.1.1 and the VOCs Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. No cross-reactivity was detected with recombinant N-protein of the hCoV strains HKU1, OC43, NL63, and 229E. A continuous evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 RAT performance is required, especially with regard to evolving mutations. Moreover, cross-reactivity and interference with pathogens and other substances on the test performance of RATs should be consistently investigated to ensure suitability in the context of SARS-CoV-2 containment.

Virol J ; 18(1): 178, 2021 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379795


BACKGROUND: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19 pandemic, has infected more than 179 million people worldwide. Testing of infected individuals is crucial for identification and isolation, thereby preventing further spread of the disease. Presently, Taqman™ Reverse Transcription Real Time PCR is considered gold standard, and is the most common technique used for molecular testing of COVID-19, though it requires sophisticated equipments, expertise and is also relatively expensive. OBJECTIVE: Development and optimization of an alternate molecular testing method for the diagnosis of COVID-19, through a two step Reverse Transcription Loop-mediated isothermal AMPlification (RT-LAMP). RESULTS: Primers for LAMP were carefully designed for discrimination from other closely related human pathogenic coronaviruses. Care was also taken that primer binding sites are present in conserved regions of SARS-CoV2. Our analysis shows that the primer binding sites are well conserved in all the variants of concern (VOC) and variants of interest (VOI), notified by World Health Organization (WHO). These lineages include B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.427/B.1.429, P.2, B.1.525, P.3, B.1.526 and B.1.617.1. Various DNA polymerases with strand displacement activity were evaluated and conditions were optimized for LAMP amplification and visualization. Different LAMP primer sets were also evaluated using synthetic templates as well as patient samples. CONCLUSION: In a double blind study, the RT-LAMP assay was validated on more than 150 patient samples at two different sites. The RT-LAMP assay appeared to be 89.2% accurate when compared to the Taqman™ rt-RT-PCR assay.

COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity