Direct Viral RNA Detection of SARS-CoV-2 and DENV in Inactivated Samples by Real-Time RT-qPCR: Implications for Diagnosis in Resource Limited Settings with Flavivirus Co-Circulation.
ABSTRACT: The RT-qPCR method remains the gold standard and first-line diagnostic method for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and flaviviruses, especially in the early stage of viral infection. Rapid and accurate viral detection is a starting point in the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic and flavivirus outbreaks. However, the shortage of diagnostic reagents and supplies, especially in resource-limited countries that experience co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and flaviviruses, are limitations that may result in lesser availability of RT-qPCR-based diagnostic tests. In this study, the utility of RNA-free extraction methods was assessed for the direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 and DENV-2 in heat-inactivated or chemical-inactivated samples. The findings demonstrate that direct real-time RT-qPCR is a feasible option in comparison to conventional real-time RT-qPCR based on viral genome extraction-based methods. The utility of heat-inactivation and direct real-time RT-qPCR for SARS-CoV-2, DENV-2 viral RNA detection was demonstrated by using clinical samples of SARS-CoV-2 and DENV-2 and spiked cell culture samples of SARS-CoV-2 and DENV-2. This study provides a simple alternative workflow for flavivirus and SARS-CoV-2 detection that includes heat inactivation and viral RNA extraction-free protocols, with aims to reduce the risk of exposure during processing of SARS-CoV-2 biological specimens and to overcome the supply-chain bottleneck, particularly in resource limited settings with flavivirus co-circulation.
Project description:The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has created an urgent need for diagnostic tests to detect viral RNA. Commercial RNA extraction kits are often expensive, in limited supply, and do not always fully inactivate the virus. Together, this calls for the development of safer methods for SARS-CoV-2 extraction that utilize readily available reagents and equipment present in most standard laboratories. We optimized and simplified a RNA extraction method combining a high molar acidic guanidinium isothiocyanate (GITC) solution, phenol and chloroform. First, we determined the GITC/RNA dilution thresholds compatible with an efficient two-step RT-qPCR for B2M mRNA in nasopharyngeal (NP) or oropharyngeal (OP) swab samples. Second, we optimized a one-step RT-qPCR against SARS-CoV-2 using NP and OP samples. We furthermore tested a SARS-CoV-2 dilution series to determine the detection threshold. The method enables downstream detection of SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR with high sensitivity (~4 viral RNA copies per RT-qPCR). The protocol is simple, safe, and expands analysis capacity as the inactivated samples can be used in RT-qPCR detection tests at laboratories not otherwise classified for viral work. The method takes about 30 min from swab to PCR-ready viral RNA and circumvents the need for commercial RNA purification kits.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) has prompted a need for mass testing to identify patients with viral infection. The high demand has created a global bottleneck in testing capacity, which prompted us to modify available resources to extract viral RNA and perform reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to detect SARS-COV-2. OBJECTIVES:Report on the use of a DNA extraction kit, after modifications, to extract viral RNA that could then be detected using an FDA-approved SARS-COV-2 RT-qPCR assay. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Initially, automated RNA extraction was performed using a modified DNA kit on samples from control subjects, a bacteriophage, and an RNA virus. We then verified the automated extraction using the modified kit to detect in-lab propagated SARSCOV-2 titrations using an FDA approved commercial kit (S, N, and ORF1b genes) and an in-house primer-probe based assay (E, RdRp2 and RdRp4 genes). RESULTS:Automated RNA extraction on serial dilutions SARS-COV-2 achieved successful one-step RT-qPCR detection down to 60 copies using the commercial kit assay and less than 30 copies using the in-house primer-probe assay. Moreover, RT-qPCR detection was successful after automated RNA extraction using this modified protocol on 12 patient samples of SARS-COV-2 collected by nasopharyngeal swabs and stored in viral transport media. CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrated the capacity of a modified DNA extraction kit for automated viral RNA extraction and detection using a platform that is suitable for mass testing. LIMITATIONS:Small patient sample size. CONFLICT OF INTEREST:None.
Project description:Real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) is the gold-standard technique for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection in nasopharyngeal swabs specimens. The analysis by RT-qPCR usually requires a previous extraction step to obtain the purified viral RNA. Unfortunately, RNA extraction constitutes a bottleneck for early detection in many countries since it is expensive, time-consuming and depends on the availability of commercial kits. Here, we describe an extraction-free protocol for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-qPCR from nasopharyngeal swab clinical samples in saline solution. The method includes a treatment with proteinase K followed by heat inactivation (PK+HID method). We demonstrate that PK+HID improves the RT-qPCR performance in comparison to the heat-inactivation procedure. Moreover, we show that this extraction-free protocol can be combined with a variety of multiplexing RT-qPCR kits. The method combined with a multiplexing detection kit targeting N and ORF1ab viral genes showed a sensitivity of 0.99 and a specificity of 0.99 from the analysis of 106 positive and 106 negative clinical samples. In conclusion, PK+HID is a robust, fast and inexpensive procedure for extraction-free RT-qPCR determinations of SARS-CoV-2. The National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices of Argentina has recently authorized the use of this method.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Fast and reliable detection of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial for efficient control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the high demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing there is a worldwide shortage of RNA extraction reagents. Therefore, extraction-free RT-qPCR protocols are urgently needed.<h4>Objectives</h4>To establish a rapid RT-qPCR protocol for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 without the need of RNA extraction suitable for all respiratory materials.<h4>Material and methods</h4>Different SARS-CoV-2 positive respiratory materials from our routine laboratory were used as crude material after heat inactivation in direct RT-qPCR with the PrimeDirect™ Probe RT-qPCR Mix (TaKaRa). SARS-CoV-2 was detected using novel primers targeted to the E-gene.<h4>Results</h4>The protocol for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in crude material used a prepared frozen-PCR mix with optimized primers and 5 ?l of fresh, undiluted and pre-analytically heat inactivated respiratory material. For validation, 91 respiratory samples were analyzed in direct comparison to classical RNA-based RT-qPCR. Overall 81.3 % of the samples were detected in both assays with a strong correlation between both Ct values (r = 0.8492, p < 0.0001). The SARS-CoV-2 detection rate by direct RT-qPCR was 95.8 % for Ct values <35. All negative samples were characterized by low viral loads (Ct >35) and/or long storage times before sample processing.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Direct RT-qPCR is a suitable alternative to classical RNA RT-qPCR, provided that only fresh samples (storage <1 week) are used. RNA extraction should be considered if samples have longer storage times or if PCR inhibition is observed. In summary, this protocol is fast, inexpensive and suitable for all respiratory materials.
Project description:To circumvent the limited availability of RNA extraction reagents, we aimed to develop a protocol for direct RT-qPCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swabs without RNA extraction. Nasopharyngeal specimens positive for SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses collected in universal viral transport (UVT) medium were pre-processed by several commercial and laboratory-developed methods and tested by RT-qPCR assays without RNA extraction using different RT-qPCR master mixes. The results were compared to that of standard approach that involves RNA extraction. Incubation of specimens at 65°C for 10 minutes along with the use of TaqPath™ 1-Step RT-qPCR Master Mix provides higher analytical sensitivity for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA than many other conditions tested. The optimized direct RT-qPCR approach demonstrated a limit of detection of 6.6x103 copy/ml and high reproducibility (co-efficient of variation = 1.2%). In 132 nasopharyngeal specimens submitted for SARS-CoV-2 testing, the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of our optimized approach were 95%, 99% and 98.5%, respectively, with reference to the standard approach. Also, the RT-qPCR CT values obtained by the two methods were positively correlated (Pearson correlation coefficient r = 0.6971, p = 0.0013). The rate of PCR inhibition by the direct approach was 8% compared to 9% by the standard approach. Our simple approach to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA by direct RT-qPCR may help laboratories continue testing for the virus despite reagent shortages or expand their testing capacity in resource limited settings.
Project description:Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 is an ongoing global pandemic associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. RT-qPCR has become the diagnostic standard for the testing of SARS-CoV-2 in most countries. COVID-19 diagnosis generally relies upon RT-qPCR-mediated identification of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA, which is costly, labor-extensive, and requires specialized training and equipment. Herein, we established a novel one-tube rapid diagnostic approach based upon formamide and colorimetric RT-LAMP (One-Pot RT-LAMP) that can be used to diagnose COVID-19 without the extraction of specific viral RNA. The technique could visually detect SARS-CoV-2 within 45 min with a limit of detection of 5 copies per reaction in extracted RNA, and about 7.66 virus copies per ?L in viral transport medium. The One-Pot RT-LAMP test showed a high specificity without cross-reactivity with 12 viruses including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and human infectious influenza virus (H1N1/H3N2 of influenza A and B virus, ect. We validated this One-Pot RT-LAMP approach by its successful use for the analysis of 45 clinical nasopharyngeal swab samples, yielding results identical to those of traditional RT-qPCR analyses, while achieving good selectivity and sensitivity relative to a commercial RT-qPCR approach. As such, this One-Pot RT-LAMP technology may be a valid means of conducting high-sensitivity, low-cost and rapid SARS-CoV-2 identification without the extraction of viral RNA.
Project description:The genetic identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is based on viral RNA extraction prior to RT-qPCR assay. However, recent studies have supported the elimination of the extraction step. This study was performed to assess the necessity for the RNA extraction, by comparing the efficacy of RT-qPCR in several direct approaches versus the gold standard RNA extraction, in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory samples, as well as in clinical oro-nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 swabs. The findings showed an advantage for the extraction procedure; however a direct no-buffer approach might be an alternative, since it identified more than 60% of positive clinical specimens.
Project description:The COVID-19 outbreak has represented a challenge for the international scientific community and particularly for forensic sciences. The lack of Coronavirus post-mortem testing led the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences (INTCF) from Spain to verify the performance and utility of a quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) clinical diagnosis protocol for SARS-CoV-2 detection (TaqPath™ COVID-19 CE-IVD RT-PCR Kit), to shed light on the cause of death (COD) in potentially COVID-19 cases in judicial autopsies. Two different RNA extraction methods were also tested (EZ1® DSP Virus Kit on the EZ1® Advanced XL robot versus MagMAX™ Viral/Pathogen Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit) regarding extraction efficiency, precision and contamination. RT-qPCR was evaluated for precision, specificity, limit of detection and concordance. Both the automated and the manual RNA extraction procedures showed good efficiency, but the automated virus extraction by bio-robot produced more reproducible results than the manual extraction. The SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR assay showed high sensitivity with a detection limit up to 10 copies/reaction and high specificity, as no cross-reactivity was detected between any of the 12 different RNA viruses tested, including three types of coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, NL63 and 229E). Reproducibility and repeatability of the studied method as well as concordance with other SARS-CoV-2 molecular detection protocols were also demonstrated.
Project description:Cellular factors have important roles in all facets of the flavivirus replication cycle. Deciphering viral-host protein interactions is essential for understanding the flavivirus life cycle as well as development of effective antiviral strategies. To uncover novel host factors that are co-opted by multiple flaviviruses, a CRISPR/Cas9 genome wide knockout (KO) screen was employed to identify genes required for replication of Zika virus (ZIKV). Receptor for Activated Protein C Kinase 1 (RACK1) was identified as a novel host factor required for ZIKV replication, which was confirmed via complementary experiments. Depletion of RACK1 via siRNA demonstrated that RACK1 is important for replication of a wide range of mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses, including West Nile Virus (WNV), Dengue Virus (DENV), Powassan Virus (POWV) and Langat Virus (LGTV) as well as the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, but not for YFV, EBOV, VSV or HSV. Notably, flavivirus replication was only abrogated when RACK1 expression was dampened prior to infection. Utilising a non-replicative flavivirus model, we show altered morphology of viral replication factories and reduced formation of vesicle packets (VPs) in cells lacking RACK1 expression. In addition, RACK1 interacted with NS1 protein from multiple flaviviruses; a key protein for replication complex formation. Overall, these findings reveal RACK1's crucial role to the biogenesis of pan-flavivirus replication organelles. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Cellular factors are critical in all facets of viral lifecycles, where overlapping interactions between the virus and host can be exploited as possible avenues for the development of antiviral therapeutics. Using a genome-wide CRISPR knockout screening approach to identify novel cellular factors important for flavivirus replication we identified RACK1 as a pro-viral host factor for both mosquito- and tick-borne flaviviruses in addition to SARS-CoV-2. Using an innovative flavivirus protein expression system, we demonstrate for the first time the impact of the loss of RACK1 on the formation of viral replication factories known as 'vesicle packets' (VPs). In addition, we show that RACK1 can interact with numerous flavivirus NS1 proteins as a potential mechanism by which VP formation can be induced by the former.
Project description:Patients with COVID-19 shed SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool, sometimes well after their respiratory infection has cleared. This may be significant for patient health, epidemiology, and diagnosis. However, methods to preserve stool, and to extract and quantify viral RNA are not standardized. We test the performance of three preservative approaches at yielding detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA: the OMNIgene-GUT kit, Zymo DNA/RNA shield kit, and the most commonly applied, storage without preservative. We test these in combination with three extraction kits: QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit, Zymo Quick-RNA Viral Kit, and MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Kit. We also test the utility of ddPCR and RT-qPCR for the reliable quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from stool. We identify that the Zymo DNA/RNA preservative and the QiaAMP extraction kit yield more detectable RNA than the others, using both ddPCR and RT-qPCR. Taken together, we recommend a comprehensive methodology for preservation, extraction and detection of RNA from SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses in stool.