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Title: OmniSARS2: A Highly Sensitive and Specific RT-qPCR-Based COVID-19 Diagnostic Method Designed to Withstand SARS-CoV-2 Lineage Evolution
Authors: Carvalho-Correia, Eduarda
Calçada, Carla
Branca, Fernando
Estévez-Gómez, Nuria
De Chiara, Loretta
Varela, Nair
Gallego-García, Pilar
Posada, David
Sousa, Hugo
Sousa, João
Veiga, Maria Isabel
Osório, Nuno S.
Keywords: B.1.1.7; COVID-19; RT-qPCR; SARS-CoV-2
Issue Date: 2021
Project: 2020.03113 
RESEARCH 4 COVID-19 1st edtion_208 
Serial title, monograph or event: Biomedicines
Volume: 9
Issue: 10
Abstract: Extensive transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the generation of thousands of mutations within its genome. While several of these become rare, others largely increase in prevalence, potentially jeopardizing the sensitivity of PCR-based diagnostics. Taking advantage of SARS-CoV-2 genomic knowledge, we designed a one-step probe-based multiplex RT-qPCR (OmniSARS2) to simultaneously detect short fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in ORF1ab, E gene and S gene. Comparative genomics of the most common SARS-CoV-2 lineages, other human betacoronavirus and alphacoronavirus, was the basis for this design, targeting both highly conserved regions across SARS-CoV-2 lineages and variable or absent in other Coronaviridae viruses. The highest analytical sensitivity of this method for SARS-CoV-2 detection was 94.2 copies/mL at 95% detection probability (~1 copy per total reaction volume) for the S gene assay, matching the most sensitive available methods. In vitro specificity tests, performed using reference strains, showed no cross-reactivity with other human coronavirus or common pathogens. The method was compared with commercially available methods and detected the virus in clinical samples encompassing different SARS-CoV-2 lineages, including B.1, B.1.1, B.1.177 or B.1.1.7 and rarer lineages. OmniSARS2 revealed a sensitive and specific viral detection method that is less likely to be affected by lineage evolution oligonucleotide–sample mismatch, of relevance to ensure the accuracy of COVID-19 molecular diagnostic methods. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
ISSN: 2227-9059
DOI: 10.3390/biomedicines9101314
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CNC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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