An alternative workflow for molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 – escape from the NA extraction kit-shortage
Since the major global manufacturers of molecular diagnostic reagents, like Roche and Qiagen, announced their NA extraction kit-shortage diagnostic laboratories are becoming more and more desperate. WHO is demanding that we test more, however we can not test more if we do not have the reagents.
Members of the One Health EJP Consortium at SSI, Denmark, have submitted a manuscript to MedRxiv for pre-print to Eurosurveillance describing an alternative workflow for molecular COVID-19 testing. Their research shows that it is possible to perform a RT-PCR test directly on a sample with only a simple heat treatment, hence eliminating the need for NA extraction reagents. They believe that this simple method will have a huge impact on the diagnostic crisis the world is facing right now.
In brief, the protocol includes:
Simply heating 10 µl eSwap material for 5 min at 98 degrees C followed by 2 min at 4 degrees C, followed by spinning condensation drops down and apply 5 µl to the RT-PCR reaction. This has been validated for the SensiFAST one-step no ROX RT-PCR kit from Bioline, and is currently set this up in the diagnostic Laboratory at SSI. Not all RT-PCR kits perform well using the heat-processing method, so the method has to be validated to specific RT-PCR assays.
The pre-print publication can be found here.